According to news and police sources, one of Japan’s top tax officials has been detained in connection with a COVID-19 aid fraud network that is believed to have cost the general public $1.5 million. The 24-year-old and his friends are allegedly suspected of employing trickery to convince others to apply for government subsidies for small business owners, according to NHK and other sources.

According to a Tokyo police spokeswoman, two people were detained on Wednesday “for fraudulently getting money under the pretext of viral subsidies”: a “24-year-old public worker” and a “22-year-old employee of an undisclosed company.”

The initial arrests were merely for one million yen, and the theft of more than $1.54 million is allegedly still under investigation, according to reports.

Five additional people have been charged in the case, in addition to the five 20-year-olds who have been arrested.

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