A woman who received cash from scam victims as part of a swindling group was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department after attempting to defraud an elderly woman. The arrested woman was a former member of one of the top corporate league women's ekiden teams.
Miho Shimada, 20, an unemployed resident of Gotemba, Shizuoka, was arrested on suspicion of calling an 80-year-old woman in Taito-ku, Tokyo and telling her, "I lost a check for funds to set up a company. I need 3 million yen," in an attempt to steal the elderly woman's cash. "I did it because I wanted money," she said in admitting to the charges.
Translator's note: A star member of the Yamanashi Gakuin High School girls' ekiden team who ran times of 9:01.23 for 3000 m and 15:43.35 for 5000 m while still in high school, Shimada joined the Toyota Jidoshokki corporate women's team after her graduation in 2016. The 2nd-place team at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships the year before she joined, in Shimada's first season with them Toyota Jidoshokki were disqualified at the 2016 national championships.
Shimada was late entering the exchange zone after her incoming teammate arrived, snatching the tasuki and starting to run once she came out but controversially ruled by an official to have crossed the line marking the end of the exchange zone before completing the exchange. The entire team was disqualified from the national championships as a result, and, either quitting or fired, Shimada disappeared from the team roster shortly thereafter. She remained out of the public eye for the year and a half since then until her arrest today.
This sort of telephone scam, people calling up senior citizens pretending to be family members or other trusted people and telling them the scam artist is in an emergency situation and needs a large amount of money either in cash or by bank transfer, is common in Japan and the subject of constant warnings and awareness campaigns by police and government organizations. It's sad to see Shimada's life having slid from blowing it for the team to this in such a short time.
translated by Brett Larner