Cult leader arrested for swindling 13 million yen through ‘prayer fees’

The leader of a company known for pitching so-called spiritual-pressure sales has been arrested for swindling customers out of more than 13 million yen (€ 124,000 / $169,000), police said.

Japan’s Mainichi Daily News reports

Toru Saito, 53, who heads the Yamanashi-based group “Shinsekai,” stands accused of violating the Act for Punishment of Organized Crimes. Saito has reportedly denied the allegations.

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According to Kanagawa Prefectural Police, Saito instructed the operators of “salons” in Tokyo affiliated with the Shinsekai group to defraud five customers of a total of 13.4 million yen between 2004 and 2006 under the pretext of “prayer fees” and other purposes.

Furthermore, Saito, who also serves as a board member of the group, had received some 1.5 billion yen in executive remunerations since 2001, according to Kanagawa Prefectural Police. […]

Law enforcers have already arrested four others including the operators of affiliated salons and indicted them for fraud.

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