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    Romance scams: Japanese agents trick lonely victims into buying property

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    Twelve single Japanese men and women filed a joint lawsuit against 14 real estate companies in Tokyo District Court seeking 200 million yen (US$ 2 million) in damages after agents from the companies allegedly tricked them into spending a fortune on mansions while posing as potential partners.

    The agents allegedly never mentioned anything about real estate sales when they registered on match-mating web sites. The accused then dated the complainants, before eventually proposing property investments. The complainants are said to have taken out mortgages averaging 26 million yen (US$260,000).

    They maintain that they were unable to reach the defendants after agreeing to buy the property. The loans being the only thing the fake partners left behind.

    The complainants realised they had been trapped in so-called 'romance scams' when reading about similar cases on the Internet and decided to seek legal advice. As a result, they joined together on Wednesday to sue the 14 real estate companies.

    The properties bought by 12 of the complainants in the past four years are said to be worth 370 million yen (US$3.7 million). The defence team claim that what the agents allegedly did was a malicious violation of the law. That they were genuine romance scams.

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