Sugar Baby Gets 9 Years In Jail For Scamming $1M From Men And Selling How-to Manuals | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Japanese dating scammer Mai Watanabe was sentenced to nine years in jail on Monday after being found to have defrauded 155.8 million yen ($1 million) out of men on dating apps.

The 25-year-old, known to many as “sugar baby Riri”, was also found guilty of creating a manual to guide others in carrying out her scamming activities, and the Japanese Times reported that in addition to her sentencing, the Nagoya District Court also handed Watanabe a fine worth eight million yen ($51,700).

Additionally, as she did not declare 40 million yen ($258,000) obtained from her scams, she was convicted of evading income tax.

Presiding judge Yoichi Omura condemned Watanabe’s actions: “The crime is a very insidious one, utilizing sweet-talking to make the victims from a dating app fall in love.”

Despite defending her actions at her trial last December, the defendant pleaded guilty and admitted that “she did something bad.” The prosecutors on the case had wanted to see the scammer receive a 13-year sentence and pick up a fine of 12 million yen ($77,500).

According to Nippon News, the official ruling stated that Watanabe defrauded three men over 50 between 2021 and 2023.

As per Kyodo News, one of the men paid the sugar baby out 117 million yen ($754,000) as she convinced him she had a debt to pay off. The other two men were told a parallel story and soon became victims after falling into the scammer’s trap.

The money Watanabe scammed out of the three men was predominantly spent on male host clubs in the Kabukicho entertainment district in Tokyo. She wanted to reward the hosts with whom she had forged a memorable connection by making them the highest earners at the clubs.

The scammer even spent up to 27 million yen ($174,000) on a single visit to one of the hosts she got to know.

Last October, two male hosts were arrested by the Aichi Prefectural Police as they had accepted payments from Watanabe whilst being aware of the money’s source.

Touching on the reasoning behind Watanabe’s scams, Judge Omura commented: “Her motive to contribute to the sales of a host is truly selfish, and there is no room for leniency.”

The 25-year-old sold her manual, titled “A Reference Book for Sugar Babies”, to a 21-year-old woman in Nagoya two years ago. The women used Watanabe’s tricks to scam 10 million yen ($64,500) out of two men.

The court found the 25-year-old’s decision to release a manual as “malicious” and “encouraged similar crimes.”

Romance scams are common and often come to fruition because of online connections made. A report released by the United States Federal Trade Commission last year found that almost 60 per cent of victims of these scams in 2023 made initial contact with a romance scammer through apps, websites or social media.

Over 64,000 U.S. romance scams were forwarded to the FTC last year, with over $1 billion obtained by these scammers.

The FTC concluded that romance scams were the costliest imposter scams, with the average loss per victim being $2000.

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