Japanese Man Gambles Away Town's COVID Relief Funds

Ralph Ellis

May 19, 2022

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A Japanese man went on a gambling spree after COVID-19 relief funds worth 46.3 million yen — about $358,000 in U.S. dollars — accidentally ended up in his bank account.

The 24-year-old man was supposed to receive only 100,000 yen (about $774 in U.S. money), his fair share of money intended for 463 low-income households in ​​Abu, in western Japan, The Guardian reported, citing Japanese media accounts.

Instead, the money for all of the housing units was wired into his account last April. In two weeks, it was gone.

The town realized the mistake and filed a lawsuit in May to get the money back, The Guardian said. The man agreed to return the money, then said all of it had unexpectedly been removed from his bank account.

His lawyer admitted the man used his mobile phone to access online casino sites and lost all the money. Further, the lawyer said the man would have a difficult time repaying the money.

But the BBC reported Wednesday that the man had agreed to repay the money bit by bit.

"I feel very sorry that I used it up," the man said according to his lawyer.

The government sent 100,000 yen to the households that should have received money int the first place, The BBC reported. The town plans to continue its lawsuit against the man.

Sources

The Guardian. "Japanese man blows town's Covid relief fund after it appeared in his account"

BBC. "Gambler to pay back Japanese Covid-19 fund he spent"

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