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Man In Japan Gets Town's COVID Funds By Mistake and Gambles It Away

Twenty dollars bills - close up and reflection of US paper money

Photo: Getty Images

The money was supposed to be COVID-19 assistance for low-income households in a small Japanese town, but it was mistakenly wired to a bank account of a resident who refused to return it and spent most of it on online gambling.

According to Huffington Post, a 24-year-old jobless resident in the town of Abu in western Japan, was arrested on Wednesday. He admitted to spending most of the $360,000 in American dollars, of taxpayers money on gamblingver. Only $530 is left in his bank account after he withdrew the money 34 times in just over 10 days after the town made the mistake.

He's being held on suspension of computer fraud. He allegedly refused the town request to return the money, police said.

The funds were COVID-19 subsidies that were deposited into his bank account in April. Each of the 463 low-income household in Abu was supposed to receive transfer request of the total amount to the 24 year old man. His name was first on the list of recipients.

Town officials are separately investing how the erroneous transfer went through unnoticed, a mistake that has triggered a wave of criticism from residents.

The arrest is a step towards tracing the money and provides hope that the money will be returned in full according to the Abu mayor.

His arrest was based on his alleged transfer of $31,300 of the town money paid into an account believed to be an online gambling site. Police declined to say how much of the money he actually gambled away, though they know it was most of it.

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