COVID Funds Fuel Gambling Addiction


When COVID-19 funds get into the wrong hands, 46.3 million yen ($360,000) gets redirected into the pockets of an unemployed man.

There was a bank transfer to help low-income households during COVID-19. The 463 low-income families in Abu, Japan, were supposed to receive 100,000 yen ($780).

Due to a glitch in the system, the bank sent a wire to an account belonging to Sho Taguchi. He is a 24-year-old resident in the town of Abu in western Japan.

He took his lump sum of cash and used it to finance his gambling desires. According to the Kyodo News agency, only 68,000 yen ($530) remains in his bank account after the 34 withdrawals that occur in the span of ten days.

When confronted by the police, he refused to hand over the cash leading to his arrest. Taguchi was taken into custody after an allegation regarding the transfer of 4 million yen ($31,300) of the town money paid into an online gambling site. Police did not disclose the exact spent amount, but Taguchi claims most of it is gone.

Town officials are in the process of investigating how the error went through without being flagged.

Amid the financial mess, taxpayers are furious that hard-earned money is falling recklessly into the hands of an individual.

In response to the taxpayers’ frustrations, Taguchi said he was “sorry for using the money,” and plans on repaying it.

Mayor Norihiko Hanada announced to reporters that the arrest helped officials trace the money, and he remains hopeful that the money will go back to the struggling families.


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