Chinese Woman Sentenced for Laundering Multi-Billion Dollar Fraud Proceeds via Bitcoin

A Chinese national has been sentenced to prison for her involvement in laundering proceeds from a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme. Wen Jian received a six-year and eight-month prison sentence on Friday after being found guilty of money laundering by a jury in March, according to report.

Prosecutors revealed that Wen converted Bitcoin (BTC) into cash and property to obscure the origins of money stolen from nearly 130,000 investors in a $6.4 billion wealth scheme that operated in China between 2014 and 2017. The scheme is believed to have been orchestrated by another woman who fled to Britain in 2017, escaping Chinese authorities’ investigation. Wen is said to have acted as the front person, facilitating the conversion of the stolen funds into Bitcoin to move them out of China.

Throughout the trial, Wen denied the accusations of money laundering, asserting that she was unaware of any criminal activity associated with Bitcoin. She claimed her actions were motivated by a desire to provide a better life for her son. However, prosecutors argued that she should have known the funds were illegally obtained.

Judge Sally-Ann Hales acknowledged there was no evidence suggesting Wen’s involvement in the underlying fraud but emphasized to the 42-year-old that she undoubtedly knew she was handling criminal property.

This case marks one of the largest cryptocurrency seizures by law enforcement globally. In 2021, British police seized wallets containing over 61,000 BTC during their investigation, valued at approximately $1.8 billion at that time. The value of the confiscated Bitcoin has since surged to around $4.2 billion, with Bitcoin’s current price standing at $69,227.61.

Wen Jian’s conviction underscores the growing scrutiny on cryptocurrency transactions and the efforts of law enforcement to combat money laundering facilitated by digital currencies.

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