Cambodia Real-estate Investment Scam Case(English)

Cambodia Real-estate Investment Scam Case

May 16, 2014


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Team of Lawyers for Victims of Cambodia Real-estate Investment Scam


I. About the Team of Lawyers:
1. Outlines
・ The team consists of 41 Japanese attorneys at law.
・ Lead Lawyer: Kazuhiro Seto, Esq. (Wanomori Law Office)
・ URL:

2. Backgrounds
In the face of a sharp rise of investment scam involving real estates in Cambodia,
the team of lawyers was formed in July, 2013 by voluntary efforts of Japanese
attorneys at law having expertise in investment/financial scam cases.
Objectives of the team are early recovery of damages suffered by victims and
prevention of further victimization consumers in Japan.

II. Damages of the Scam
1. Circumstances of the Scam
Since around 2012, there has been a rising number of requests for legal
consultation on troubles concerning investment solicitation by Japanese
corporations named FIRST FUDOSAN Co., Ltd. (“FIRST”), Universal Max Co.,
Ltd. (“UNIVERSAL”), their self-claimed secondary agents, and other related
companies for farmland exploitation rights and condominium ownerships in
A typical scheme employed by these companies starts with a pamphlet
introducing some investment product mailed to a targeted victim, which is
followed by a telephone call from a “third party” business entity asking to buy the
investment product on its behalf. On the telephone call, this third-party entity
promises to re-purchase the investment product from the targeted victim at a
higher price e.g. “xx million yen higher” or “xx times higher” than the original.
Once the targeted victim buys the investment product, he/she is then told by the
third-party entity to buy more of the investment product because “the end
purchaser is now requiring certain number of investment units rounded up
together” or because the third party entity “allows no fragmented repurchasing
but it needs a minimum of xx units.” In the end, the victim is made to purchase
many units of the investment product e.g. multiple titles to a real estate, then, all
in the sudden, loses contact with the third-party entity.
Majority the victims are elderly, and their damages are quite large in terms of
yen. In this typical and utterly malicious theatrical fraud scheme conducted by
FIRST et al., fraudsters targeted elderly people with life savings in particular.
According to the facts found through civil procedures in Japan, the ringleader,
Ikuo Konno, who masterminded this fraud scheme has been in Cambodia, and
the 2 most of the money stolen from the victims has also been transferred to Cambodia.
In around August, 2013, companies named S. F. C. Co., Ltd. and ASEAN Estate
Co., Ltd. began to victimize new targets with similar scam activities.
Representatives of these companies are former employees of FIRST, and many of
the factors and elements in their scheme are common to those masterminded by
Konno. Konno, again, is considered to be the ringleader behind this new round
of scam.

2. Number of Victims Known to the Team of Lawyers (as of Feb. 18, 2014)
                    Number of Victims\ Total Damage
Request for Consultation               99 \2,052,000,000
Represented by the Team of Lawyers 45 \1,062,000,000
Plaintiffs in Civil Cases 23 \704,000,000

3. Inquiries Received by Consumer Affairs Centers (as of Nov., 2013)
Consumer Affairs Centers (prefectural/municipal administrative agencies for
protection of consumers) around the country received approx. 320 inquiries on
FIRST and approx. 330 inquiries on UNIVERSAL from consumers since 2011.
The total damage suffered by their victims is estimated to be several billion to
over 10 billion yen.

III. Civil Cases
Many civil cases filed by individual victims against FIRST and other fraudsters have
been pending at Tokyo and other district courts around Japan. On Nov. 6, 2013, in
its decision on one of these cases, Tokyo District Court acknowledged Ikuo Konno to
be the de-facto principal who had been controlling FIRST and UNIVERSAL. One
after another, other district courts have also been handing down similar decisions
denouncing the defendants’ conducts as an organized fraud and recognizing all of the
alleged liabilities of the defendants.

IV. Civil Cases Filed by the Team of Lawyers
The Team of Lawyers has also filed three civil complaints to Tokyo District Court
representing multiple plaintiffs/victims so far. All of these cases are against FIRST,
UNIVERSAL, their representative directors and employees, Ikuo Konno in
Cambodia, and two Cambodian entities represented by Konno i.e. AAP
The three cases were filed on October 31, 2013, November 25, 2013, and May 13,
2014 respectively. For the second one of these three cases, a court decision
recognizing alleged liabilities of the defendants in Japan has already been handed

V. Criminal Investigation by the Law Enforcement (Police Agencies)
Several of the fraudsters were arrested for attempted fraud in 2013. Cambodia
Investment Fraud Criminal Investigation Headquarters has been established by
Kanagawa Prefectural Police Agency with participation by police agents from several
other prefectures. Many other local police agencies throughout Japan have also
been investigating the case.