Japanese man gambled away £290,000 after Covid fund was accidentally deposited into his account

Man gambles away nearly £290,000 after it was accidently deposited in his account.
A Japanese man who was mistakenly sent ¥46.3m (£287,000) in Covid-19 relief funds gambled away the entire amount in the space of two-weeks. Credit: AP

A Japanese man has gambled around £287,000 (¥46.3m) in Covid relief funds that had been accidentally deposited into his account.

The 24-year-old, who has not been named, managed to gamble away the entire amount in the space of two weeks.

The sum was part of a local government scheme aimed at helping residents who were struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.

Money had been earmarked for 463 low-income households in the town of Abu in western Japan.

Each household had been scheduled to receive ¥100,000 (£621), instead the entire amount was deposited into the man's account, according to Japanese media.

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Local officials filed a lawsuit seeking the immediate return of the money once the mistake had been realised.

The man who is understood to have recently quit his job working in a shop, had agreed to return the cash but claimed that it had been moved from his account.

Bank records showcased that he had withdrawn all of the money from his account between April 8 and April 21.

He is quoted as saying: "I've already moved the money. It can't be returned.

"It cannot be undone any more. I will not run. I will pay for my crime."

The man's lawyer had said that his client had been co-operating with police and had agreed to be interviewed.

However, following the lawsuit filed against him on May 12, officials haven't managed to contact him.

His lawyer explained that the man had used his smartphone to gamble all of the money away through online casino sites.

The Abu authority is now suing the man for ¥51 million (£318,000), including legal fees.

Aby Mayor Norihiko Hanada told residents he is "deeply sorry" for the mistake and that his office "will do our utmost to take back the large amount of public money."

Since the statement another wave of ¥100,000 payments have been made to those eligible.