A former post office worker in Tokyo was arrested Tuesday for allegedly embezzling over 2 million postage stamps worth about 94 million yen ($890,000), police said.
Tokyo police suspect Masaki Hosohata, 49, was also involved in other cases, estimating the total amount embezzled at about 270 million yen.
Hosohata has admitted to the allegation that he sold 2,012,500 stamps worth around 94 million yen at discount ticket shops for about 75 million yen. A discount ticket shop in Japan typically buys items at lower prices than face value.
He was quoted as telling investigators, "I thought it was a waste to discard the stamps."
He sold stamps that were supposed to be for postpaid mail, a service that is often sold at a discount to companies that want to pay -- in stamps or cash -- upfront for bulk mail. Hosohata made over 100 trips to the shops between early April 2016 and late March 2017, according to the police.
Post office workers are obliged to postmark such stamps at service windows and shred them.
Japan Post Co., a unit of Japan Post Holdings Co., filed a criminal complaint against Hosohata in November 2020 after firing him in August 2018.