TOKYO (Reuters) - An 89-year-old Japanese woman is headed to prison for swindling acquaintances out of some 39 million yen ($368,000).
Repeat offender Matsue Nakamura was jailed for three years and four months by a court in northern Japan, the daily Asahi Shimbun said. Judge Keisuke Masuda acknowledged Nakamura's advanced age but said she was a professional swindler and her four past convictions for similar scams forced him to jail her, it said.
He told her: "I hope that after serving your prison term you will lead an honest life and never repeat this sort of crime."
Nakamura told her victims she had made money in the black market after World War II and deposited it in a bank.
She said it had grown to 45 billion yen ($424 million) but she could not withdraw it because the account was under a different name. She told them she needed money to fight the bank in court and would repay the loans many times over, the paper said. "Her sense of ethics has become dull," the judge said. "It's obvious this is habitual. Besides, it's a lot of money."