Woman who bought the card noticed coloring flaw, setting off hunt for culprit that ended halfway across Japan.

This week, investigators from the Kyoto Prefectural Police’s Shimogamo Precinct cracked a counterfeiting case, nabbing their man halfway across the country. On October 23, Shunki Iwasaki, a 29-year-old resident of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, was placed under arrest and now stands to face a variety of charges.

The arrest comes eight months after Iwasaki passed off the counterfeit items as the real thing something he admits to doing. However, he wasn’t dealing in illicit duplicates of classic art, paper currency, or any of the other wares often involved in counterfeiting crimes. No, Iwasaki was trying to get a quick score by selling a counterfeit Yu-Gi-Oh! card.

It wasn’t just any Yu-Gi-Oh! card, either. In mid-February, Iwasaki posted a listing on Yahoo! Auctions, one of Japan’s most popular online marketplaces, where he said he was selling a Lorelei, the Symphonic Arsenal card. Lorelei was never available in commercially sold packs of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, being instead given to winners of the 2008 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship tournament, and investigators say there are only six genuine examples in the whole world.

▼ A legitimate Lorelei

A 20-something woman living in Kyoto purchased Iwasaki’s card, rendering payment to him of 400,000 yen (US$3,570). However, after receiving the card, the woman noticed that the background in the illustration was much more colorful than it should be, with a rainbow-like array of hues. She then went to the police who were able to track Iwasaki down.

However, while Iwasaki admits that he “figured the card was probably a fake,” he didn’t make the imitation Lorelei, and so the Kyoto Prefectural Police are currently looking into the avenue by which Iwasaki obtained the card in hopes of bringing the counterfeiter himself to justice as well.

Still, Iwasaki’s actions were enough to get him arrested, with the initial charges filed being copyright infringement ones, since the card bore the name and logo of Yu-Gi-Oh! parent company Konami. Investigators are also determining whether or not fraud charges are applicable, though they seem incredibly likely, considering that the hefty priced the woman paid for the piece of paper was entirely dependent upon the assumption that it was a genuine, official card,

It’s unclear whether or not Iwasaki still has the woman’s money, and by extension whether or not she’s going to get it back. However, considering that some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have been offered for sale for as much as 45 million yen, even if the money she gave Iwasaki is gone forever, things could have been far worse. For all the rest of us, the incident serves as an important reminder of the importance of verifying the authenticity of collector’s items before completing the transaction, and if you can’t, you might be better off sticking with admiring rare Yu-Gi-Oh! items the next time every card from the franchise gets displayed together.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/MBS via Otakomu, Jiji, FBS
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