News On Japan

The Grand Shield Collects 8 Billion Yen Through Illegal Bonds

TOKYO, May 16 (News On Japan) - The president and seven employees of The Grand Shield, previously featured in Japanese media due to financial troubles with dental braces, have been arrested for selling high-yield bonds without registration, promising annual returns of 20%. It is believed that two women among the suspects collected 4.6 billion yen alone.

Eight Arrested for Violating Financial Instruments and Exchange Act

Yoshitaka Nakamura (June of last year): "Our company is in a situation where we are hit with a double punch. I have also been asked why this has happened consecutively, but I would like to ask that myself."

One year ago, Nakamura, president of The Grand Shield, gave an exclusive interview. Seated on a large chair adorned with gold decorations, the room was filled with gold bars and wine cellars.

The Grand Shield has also been involved in financial troubles with recruiting monitors for dental braces. Customers were promised "virtually free" dental corrections if they paid close to 2 million yen upfront, but both treatments and refunds were halted.

This arrest, however, is not related to dental braces but to the violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act concerning bonds. Promising high returns of around 20% annually, the suspects are believed to have collected about 8 billion yen from approximately 1,300 investors. Eight individuals have been arrested.

Three Women Arrested for Competing in Bond Sales

Nakamura (September 2018): "Thank you all for gathering here today."

The footage is from a birthday party held in 2018. Attending were members of Trustel, a management consulting firm that issued the bonds, and The Grand Shield, which sold the bonds. Six of the eight arrested were present.

Nakamura (September 2018): "Thanks to all the intense people, I feel like I've had an intense life. Probably, I am the richest person here today."

Nakamura reportedly began selling Trustel bonds a year prior. Participants were all smiles, indicating successful fundraising.

Three women who attended the birthday party, smiling and appearing close, were arrested: 38-year-old Hiromi Akimoto, 35-year-old Keiko Satake, and 34-year-old Chie Kagii.

The three competed in bond sales and were sales rivals. Satake is believed to have collected approximately 1.964 billion yen, and Akimoto approximately 2.65 billion yen.

Satake (September 2018): "I have always had a desire to succeed and believed I would, but I couldn't quite achieve it. It was a frustrating 30 years, but meeting Nakamura and receiving guidance on various methods has finally allowed me to take steps towards my success."

How Did They Gather the Funds? A Former Employee Speaks

How did Akimoto and Satake collect such large sums of money?

Former Grand Shield Employee: "They were good at what is known as 'dating sales tactics,' having worked in nightlife in their early twenties. They were skilled in that area."

Many male employees were attracted to Satake's charm and supported her in closing deals.

Satake: "Those people over there, I call them 'Satake's Children' (laughs)."

According to a former employee of The Grand Shield, the two women were "tightly bonded with Nakamura."

Former Grand Shield Employee: "They went on sales calls with Nakamura and secured contracts with various wealthy individuals. Earning a lot was seen as a virtue, and The Grand Shield was that kind of company. They revered Nakamura as a god, and their belief was reflected in their sales performance."

Akimoto reportedly used the surname "Watanabe" until just before her arrest. The victims are outraged.

Victim: "She may have changed her surname to avoid being identified upon arrest."

When asked why she changed her name before the arrest, her mother said:

Akimoto's Mother: "My daughter divorced her husband and changed her surname to my former husband's about six months ago. I don't know the reason, but she said she wanted to start anew with the new surname."

Dental Braces Customers Also Induced to Buy Bonds

The eight arrested are believed to have collected a total of 8 billion yen, promising annual returns of 20%. Some dental brace customers were also induced to purchase bonds.

Former Grand Shield Employee: "Some people bought bonds worth millions or tens of millions of yen. Generally, the wealthy were targeted. The dental braces were recommended to salaried workers and young women. Initially, both the bonds and braces payments were properly made, building trust, and leading people to want to try both products from The Grand Shield."

A woman in her 30s who bought dental braces and bonds worth 3 million yen: "They said there were guarantees at multiple levels, so even if there was a problem, the money would be returned."

Woman in her 30s who bought dental braces and bonds worth 2 million yen: "I was told I would never lose money."

Laughing at the Emergency Meeting

Nakamura (November last year): "(Q: Nakamura, will you not refund the victims? Have you fulfilled your responsibility?)"

Nakamura silently got into a taxi, covering his face with his phone, and left the scene.

In last year's interview with the program, he said, "Our company hasn't made a profit or received any money." However, The Grand Shield's office was filled with luxurious furniture, gold bars, and lavish ornaments, along with a cellar storing dozens of bottles of wine.

At the emergency meeting in February last year with The Grand Shield and Trustel, they discussed the money collected from customers as follows:

Grand Shield Employee: "We can only wait for a month. The bank is already halted payments. But we'll still transfer."

Trustel Member: "We can't blame it on Ukraine (invasion)."

It was evident that they did not take the inability to make interest payments seriously.

On the scheduled transfer date, a suspicious victim visited Trustel's headquarters directly when the interest payments were not made.

Woman in her 40s who bought bonds worth 2 million yen: "The place was empty. My legs gave out."

After the scandal broke, employees disappeared.

Confronting Trustel's President... "Return the Money"

In September last year, based on information that Trustel President Akira Takahashi (61) appeared in court, victims waited outside the courthouse to confront him.

Creditor: "You are President Takahashi, right? President Takahashi, return the money. The victims are suffering. Is there no apology? My family and I are all in trouble. Are you ignoring us? President, answer us. There was no explanation, and suddenly we lost contact. Is it Nakamura's fault?"

Takahashi: "I have nothing to say."

"(Q: Don't you have anything to say?) I told you, I have nothing to say."

Creditor: "Hundreds of people have used their family or company money."

Where did the 8 billion yen go?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is investigating to uncover the full extent of the case.

Source: ANN

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