Japan’s most famous poker player may have just turned into most infamous one, as Masaaki Kagawa’s name is now being featured in police reports instead of the gambling news.
Authorities arrested him earlier this week, but the events that led to the bust originated not in a Japanese poker room, but in the boardroom of his internet technology company Koei Planning, with a devious scam to con people out of millions of dollars using an Android malware, according to police sources.
The fishy app called Android.Enesoluty was often disguised as an “energy solution” (hence the name Enesoluty) to improve battery life and phone reception, and hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting users downloaded it – mostly from fake Google Play sites.
The malware then sent all of the contacts from the phone to Koei Planning, where the recipients allegedly collected 37 million e-mail addresses. Then they used them to invite people to a fake dating site, charging for the service.
The 50-year-old poker pro and the eight other defendants arrested alongside him are accused of making around USD 3.9 million from the scheme.
Although Japanese gambling laws do not allow for legal, real-money poker games to be held, no-fee qualifying tournaments do take place, allowing local players to compete on the international stage.
Masaaki Kagawa was one such player who actually became a regular participant at international tournaments, though not an exceedingly successful one. Some have in fact wondered how he could afford constant participation, with his buy-ins exceeding his total winnings of USD 1,621,971 to date.
Setting aside the issue of him trying his chances against the law, the story is also a good reminder that smartphone users must remain vigilant, and verify their sources before downloading anything to their device.