youre a green one mr prince

I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that life would be so much easier if money grew on trees, or even if earning more money were as simple as just printing it off your computer. But alas, the world does work that way, and anyone caught trying to spend counterfeit money is bound to end up in hot water, as these two Japanese suspects are sure to tell you.

Joint investigation headquarters of Osaka, Hyogo, and Niigata prefectural police announced this January 14 that company executives Takeshi Aoyama from Toyohashi City, and Masahiko Ito from Niigata City, were arrested under suspicion of importing forged money from China.

Just how much money, you ask? According to the reports, there were 108 10,000-yen bills. A 10,000-yen bill is the equivalent of a US hundred-dollar bill, so that’s about a cool US$10,800 in (fake) cash right there. And what was particularly interesting about these bills is that they were forgeries of the old-style 10,000-yen note.

The Bank of Japan’s homepage states that the old bills, first issued in 1958, featured Prince Shōtoku, a legendary regent and politician in late 6th century Japan. Prince Shōtoku was then replaced on the bills in 1984 by Yukichi Fukuzawa, famous philosopher and founder of Keio University.

▼The prince in all his glory…

youre a green one mr prince

▼…before Mr. Yukichi took over

yukichi you kechiImages: Wikipedia

Seventy-eight-year-old Aoyama and 44-year-old Ito are suspected of smuggling the old bills from Shanghai into Chubu Airport in Aichi Prefecture in June 2013. Investigations continued that July after old bills brought in to be exchanged at a bank in Niigata were found to be fake, and another fake bill was found listed on an online auction website.

When questioned, Aoyama claimed that he received over 200 of the bills from a Chinese man after paying him, and Ito adds that they didn’t know whether or not the bills were fake.

The two still took the money in to banks within the country to be exchanged, and also gave them to friends and acquaintances, persuading them that there were still many of the old bills in use in China, and encouraging them to invest the money.

Coincidentally enough, back in 2012, Aoyama and Ito established the “Nicchuu Rekishi Kouryuu Kyoukai“, with roughly translates as “Sino-Japanese Historical Exchange Association”. Aoyama states he was urged to establish the association by the same man who gave him the fake bills. Guess there was a bit more than just history being exchanged there?

that guy actually believed the money i gave him was real hahaImage: Adventure to Fitness

If you don’t want to get in trouble with the big guys, it might be a good idea to keep the fake money for playtime!

Source: The Asahi Shimbun
Featured image: Wikipedia