He would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for his 35 girlfriends.

Time and time again we see cases of criminal breaking the cardinal rule of getting too greedy and blowing the lid off their various schemes. Whether it’s making one too many Pokémon popsicle sticks or buying cigarettes with 120 smartphones at once, not knowing when to quit while you’re ahead is always a fatal flaw in frauds of all kinds.

This brings us to Takashi Miyagawa, a 39-year-old part time worker of no fixed address who was arrested for defrauding nearly three-dozen women that he pretended to be in serious relationships with. In the most recent case he told a 47-year-old woman that his birthday was on 22 February, when in fact it was on 13 November.

Other victims have also come forward, such as a 40-year-old woman whom he told his birthday was in a July, and 35-year-old who though his birthday was in April. The current count of victims stands at 35, with a possibility of more, who are accusing Miyagawa of cheating them out of a total 100,000 yen (US$925) made up of smaller “birthday” gifts of money and clothing.

▼ By our calculations, Miyagawa should now be 74 years old.

Miyagawa reportedly met his victims while he was selling hydrogen water shower heads and other equipment though a multi-level marketing company, and started up romantic relationships with each one under the assumption that marriage was in the cards. However, as his web of lies began to dissolve like the hydrogen molecules in his therapeutic water, the women all formed a “Victims Association” and reported him to police last February.

▼ MBS reporters ambushed Miyagawa on the street last January, prior to the criminal charges

Those who read the news online were filled with a conflicting mix of disgust and awe at the scope of Miyagawa’s crimes and infidelity.

“Can you imagine all that scheduling and planning to date 35 people at the same time?”
“I guess that’s what they call an ‘alpha-male.'”
“Even if he sees one everyday, there’s still five more after a month!”
“Isn’t it easier to get a job at that point?”
“It seems like he should be a better MLM salesman if he’s such a smooth talker.”
“It’s hard enough keeping a relationship with one person.”
“It horrible yet impressive.”
“Don’t women do this all the time?”
“I wonder what he does when Christmas rolls around.”
“The presents are one thing, but isn’t this pyramid scheme the guy is in fraud too?”
“He’s an awful person, but I envy his time-management skills.”

I suppose if I were his lawyer, I’d use the “broken clock” defense, suggesting that with 35 women and 12 months he must have told at least one his real birthday and thus not committed fraud in that particular instance.

It wouldn’t do much aside from slightly reducing his punishment, but when you’ve screwed over so many people that they can form an association against you, there’s not a whole lot you can do except cry and hope for the best.

Source: MBS, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Images: Pakutaso

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