Court Sentence British-Chinese Woman For Role in $6B Bitcoin Scam

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British-Chinese woman, Jian Wen, received a six-year and eight-month prison sentence for getting involved in laundering Bitcoin (BTC) in China. The fraud was valued at £5 billion which is approximately $6 billion. 42-year-old Wen allegedly performed the money laundering for her former boss, Yadi Zhang, a Chinese woman. She was therefore convicted in March of one count of money laundering. 

61K BTC Stolen by Chinese Woman 

In 2018, Wen and Zhang’s Hampstead mansion was raided by London’s Metropolitan Police who found devices containing a staggering 61,000 Bitcoin, valued at over $4 billion. Noteworthy, Bitcoin was trading at $69,176.19 at the time of this writing. The authorities seized the crypto, marking one of the largest cryptocurrency seizures ever made by a law enforcement agency. 

Zhang ran a fraudulent investment scheme in China that ended up defrauding up to 130,000 investors. Wen was not accused of directly committing the crime but of aiding Zhang to launder the proceeds of the crime. At one time, the authorities investigated a British-Chinese woman for an attempted purchase of a London mansion using BTC. 

Some other approaches that Wen employed to launder the crypto were to convert it to cash and purchase property, jewelry, and other luxury items.

Wen Denies Involvement With Bitcoin Scam

She denied the charge levied against her, stating that while she truly held control of a Bitcoin wallet on behalf of her boss, she was unaware of the source of the digital currency. In her defence, Wen’s lawyer Mark Harries, claimed that she is a fragile and desperate woman who was “duped and used.” 

During the sentencing which took place at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Friday, the presiding Judge Sally-Ann Hales, KC, said that Wen knew “rather than merely suspected” that she was dealing in the proceeds of crime.

“This was an offence which was sophisticated and involved significant planning,” the judge added.

Regulators Team Up to Address Money Laundering Issues

Meanwhile, Zhang’s lawyers have maintained that she is “wholly” innocent. In the meantime, the Metropolitan Police are trying to make a full recovery of the funds. 

Consequently, the UK signed a collaboration deal with Chinese authorities on the matter. Considering China’s commitment to address the escalating issue of cybercrimes, particularly those involving blockchain and metaverse projects, this alliance may be pivotal to the final outcome of the case. It also underscores regulators’ push to achieve a cybercrime-free society.

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