‘Sugar Baby’ Who Defrauded Older Men Out of $1M Gets 9 Year Prison Term | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

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  • A 25-year-old Japanese ‘sugar baby’ has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
  • A court ruled that Mai Watanabe defrauded men she met on dating apps out of more than $1 million.
  • Watanabe also sold a manual on how to execute similar scams, helping another woman in her efforts.

A 25-year-old “sugar baby” was handed a nine-year prison sentence for defrauding men she met on dating apps out of more than $1 million, and selling a manual on how to carry out similar scams.

Mai Watanabe, also known as “itadaki joshi Riri-chan,” which translates as “sugar baby Riri,” was sentenced by the Nagoya District Court on Monday, The Japan Times reported.

The news outlet said that Watanabe was also fined 8 million yen, about $52,000.

According to the court’s ruling, Watanabe defrauded three men in their 50s out of a total of around 55.8 million yen, about $1 million, between 2021 and 2023, the Nippon news agency reported.

She swindled one victim out of 117 million yen, about $756,000, by convincing him that she needed the money to pay off a debt, according to the Kyodo news agency, which added that she used a similar story to defraud the other two men.

Nippon reported that Watanabe used most of the money to make payments at male host clubs in Tokyo’s Kabukichō district.

In these clubs, female customers pay for male company and are often poured drinks and flirted with by male hosts.

Kyodo, citing the court’s ruling, said that Watanabe was also convicted of creating a manual on how to execute similar scams.

The Jiji Press news agency said she sold the manual to a 21-year-old woman in 2022, aiding her in swindling someone out of about 10 million yen — a little over $64,000.

The news agency said Watanabe was also convicted of evading income tax by hiding about a quarter of the scam’s proceeds.

Being a sugar baby can be financially rewarding. A freelance writer previously told Business Insider that she got paid as much as $500 for dates, and was treated to designer clothes, expensive dinners, and stays in luxury hotels.

For sugar daddies — older men who pay younger women — it can sometimes offer a form of companionship, whether platonic or otherwise.

But if they’re not careful, they risk falling victim to romance scams.

The Federal Trade Commission in the US received 64,003 reports of romance scams in 2023, amounting to total losses of more than $1.1 billion.

The median loss per person, at $2,000, was higher than in any other type of imposter scam, the FTC noted.

According to a 2023 report by the commission, nearly 60% of people who lost money to a romance scam that year first made contact with the scammer through social media, websites, or apps.

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