No prison for granddaughter who pilfered pension money
Tue, Nov 23, 2010
The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

The Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced the granddaughter of a man whose mummified remains were found in their home in July to 2-1/2 years in prison, suspended for four years, for fraudulently receiving the man's pension benefits.

Sogen Kato had been recognized by the Tokyo metropolitan government as the oldest living man in Tokyo before his body was discovered at his house in Adachi Ward.

The incident turned out to be the first in a series of cases in which Japan governments discovered centenarians registered in their cities, towns and villages were actually dead or missing.

"The defendant committed a malicious crime with the selfish motive of securing revenue for her family," Judge Hajime Shimada said. "However, she has paid back the pension benefits and expressed remorse for the crime."

According to the ruling, Sogen died around November 1978.

However, defendant Tokimi Kato, 53, and her mother Michiko pretended he was alive and fraudulently received a total of 9.15 million yen (S$141,825) from October 2004 to June this year from the Japan Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers.

The pension money was paid to the man after the death of his wife, who was a teacher.

Sogen died after shutting himself up in his room, but Tokimi and his family did not report his death to the authorities.

Sogen would have been 111 if still alive when the Metropolitan Police Department found his body on July 28.

-- Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

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