An out-of-work gentleman in Japan thought he got lucky when the government accidentally sent him a Covid relief check meant for his town. So lucky, in fact, that rather than give it back, or at least steal it for living expenses while looking for another job, he fed most of the 46.3 million yen ($360,000) to an online gambling site — and lost.
Naturally, he was arrested.
Sho Taguchi, a 24-year-old jobless resident in the town of Abu in western Japan, was arrested on Wednesday, Yamaguchi prefectural police said.
Police said Thursday he admitted to spending most of the 46.3 million yen ($360,000) of taxpayers' money on gambling. According to Kyodo News agency, only 68,000 yen ($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.
The funds were COVID-19 subsidies that were deposited into his bank account in April. Each of the 463 low-income households in Abu, population 3,372, was supposed to receive 100,000 yen ($780). But a town official mistakenly submitted to a financial institution a single transfer request of the total amount to Taguchi, whose name was the first on the list of recipients, Kyodo News reported.
Town officials are separately investigating how the erroneous transfer went through unnoticed, a mistake that has triggered a wave of criticism from residents.