Chinese Takeaway Employee Sentenced to Prison for Bitcoin Money Laundering Now Valued at $4 Billion

British-Chinese Woman Sentenced to Over Six Years in Prison for Bitcoin Money Laundering Scheme

A British-Chinese woman, Jian Wen, has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for her involvement in a bitcoin money laundering scam. The 42-year-old was found guilty at London’s Southwark Crown Court and sentenced to 80 months in prison.

Seizure of 61,000 Bitcoins Worth Over $4 Billion

Authorities became aware of Wen’s activities when she attempted to purchase luxury London homes valued at over $50 million. This led to a thorough investigation, which resulted in the seizure of devices containing 61,000 bitcoins in 2018. The bitcoins are now worth more than $4 billion, making it the largest crypto seizure in the UK.

Involvement in Investment Fraud Operation

The funds seized from Wen’s home are believed to have come from an investment fraud operation in China led by her “employer,” Yadi Zhang. Judge Sally-Ann Hales, KC, stated that over 128,000 investors invested 40 billion Renminbi (approximately $5.6 billion) into the scheme. Some of the proceeds were exchanged for bitcoin and smuggled out of China on a laptop.

Converting Bitcoin into Cash and Assets

Wen was convicted of converting significant amounts of bitcoin into cash and other assets on behalf of her boss. Despite declaring a low income, Wen lived in a luxurious six-bedroom property in London, paid for her son to attend a private school in the UK, and purchased properties in Dubai.

Anti-Money Laundering Checks Triggered

Wen’s attempts to purchase extravagant London homes raised red flags, triggering anti-money laundering checks. She was unable to explain the source of the funds, leading to the halt of the sales.

Increasing Use of Cryptocurrencies in Criminal Activities

Andrew Penhale, chief prosecutor, highlighted the increasing use of cryptocurrencies by organized criminals to disguise and transfer assets. He emphasized the scale of criminal proceeds available to fraudsters, as illustrated by this case involving the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK.

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