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Group accused of US$100m fraud in The Bahamas

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

A group of foreigners in The Bahamas is accused of trying to defraud JP Morgan using a forged check worth US$100 million, police said.

Katsuichi Yufu, 71, of Japan; Steven De Gruiter, 60, of Indonesia; and Carol Collins, 49, of Massachusetts, face charges including forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud by false pretences, said Bahamian Police Inspector Matthew Edgecombe.

They pleaded not guilty last week.

Authorities also are investigating a fourth suspect, Hirofumi Tanabe, 57, after allegedly finding a separate forged check - this one worth US$50 million from Citibank - in a hotel in the capital of Nassau, Edgecombe said.

Tanabe was hospitalised

Tanabe was hospitalised after he complained of heart problems and high blood pressure..

Police did not release details on how the alleged scam would have worked, but it apparently involved the forged JP Morgan cheque and a trust fund.

In a statement, police said the suspects conspired in early July to commit the alleged fraud.

JP Morgan spokesman Darin Oduyoye and Citibank spokesman Anthony Ingham declined to comment.

It is unclear how the suspects knew each other.

Defence attorney Milton Cox, who represents the group, said in court July 20 that Yufu is a senior partner in a Japanese real estate company, De Gruiter has several investments in restaurants in Indonesia, and that Collins is a financial consultant in the United States.

The group is being held without bond.

- AP