Japanese 'Sugar Baby' Who Swindled Men of $1M, Sold Manual on How to do It, Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison

Mai Watanabe
Mai Watanabe Facebook

A 25-year-old "sugar baby" was handed a nine-year prison sentence for defrauding men she met on dating apps 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.

Watanabe Swindled 3 Men of a Total $1 Million Over Two Years, Told Them She Had a Debt to Pay Off

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.

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. She had fallen in love with one of her male hosts.

Watanabe Created a Manual on How to Defraud Men, One of her Customers Scammed a Man for Over $64K

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

"Sugaring" is a form of dating in which one partner financially supports the other, often in the form of cash or gifts such as designer clothes, expensive dinners and luxury hotel stays.