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Poker Pro Masa Kagawa Busted in $3.9m Android Malware Ring

Published by on July 28, 2013

CarbonPoker – Earlier this year, Masa Kagawa was celebrating a third place finish in the 2013 Aussie Millions $100k Challenge ($337,824). Now the Japanese poker pro is facing some serious charges for masterminding an Android malware ring that ultimately netted $3.9 million.

Kagawa, who runs the Tokyo IT firm Koei Planning, distributed Android malware that spams phone users and collects personal information from them. After obtaining emails, Kagawa and eight other men lured the users to a phony dating site called Sakura. This is where he cashed in as the dating site made 390 million yen (approx. $3.9m). Symantec.com described the plot and timeline in detail by writing the following:

From our observations, the operation began around September, 2012 and ended in April, 2013 when authorities raided the company office. We confirmed around 150 domains were registered to host the malicious apps during this time span. According to media reports, the group was able to collect approximately 37 million email addresses from around 810,000 Android devices. The company earned over 390 million yen (approximately 3.9 million US dollars) by running a fake online dating service called Sakura site in the last five months of the spam operation. Spam used to lure victims to the dating site was sent to the addresses collected by the malware.

I’m not the most experienced person in the world when it comes to cyber crime punishments, but it sounds like Kagawa could be facing some jail time – especially considering that his operation made nearly $4 million. This is quite a fall from grace for a guy who’s Japan’s most celebrated poker pro in history.

His $1,522,450 in live tournament winnings are more than double what the next guy, Motoyuki Mabuchi ($729,479), has made. Kagawa has several big-time high roller tournament finishes, including when he took fifth in the 2012 EPT Grand Final €98,500 Super High Roller ($468,030). At the moment, the 50-year-old is awaiting sentencing so it’ll be a while before we hear of his fate.

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