Ex-Takeaway Worker Caught With Bitcoin Worth $2.5 Billion

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The former restaurant worker in Leeds is the subject of UK’s biggest bitcoin seizure.

A former Chinese takeaway worker Jian Wen has been caught and convicted of a crime involving money laundering of 61,000 bitcoins worth about £2 billion ($2.53 billion).

The 42-year old lived in a simple flat above a restaurant in Leeds. She got involved in the crime of converting cryptocurrencies to physical properties like houses and pieces of jewelry. 

Wen’s Suspicious Lifestyle

According to the Crime Prosecution Service (CPS), Wen moved into a new apartment in 2017, paying £17,000 ($21,500) per month for a six-bedroom house. She claimed to work for a big international Jewelry Company. 

Wen bought an E-class Mercedes Benz worth £25,000 ($31,660). Further, she moved her son to the UK and enrolled him in Heathside Preparatory School where she pays £6,000 ($7,600) per term. 

Also in 2017, she tried to acquire some very expensive properties in London including a seven-bedroom mansion in Hampstead worth £23.5 million ($2.98 million). Also a home with a cinema and gym worth £12.5 million ($15.8 million) but she wasn’t as she did not pass money laundering checks. 

Wen only recorded an income of £5,979 ($7,572) in 2016/2017 but could no longer defend the source of the bitcoins she would use in acquiring the properties. She claimed to have earned such an amount from bitcoin mining but was not believed.

Her prosecutors have stated that there is no clear evidence linked to the source of the bitcoins but claim that it’s connected to an investment fraud from China which she must have been involved in.  

Another suspect is believed to be involved in the crime but not yet caught.

Court Actions

On Wednesday, Wen was charged by Southwark Crown Court for being part of a money laundering arrangement about 150 bitcoins worth £7.5 million ($9.5 million). The Metropolitan Police has reported that the ongoing investigation of the case has linked Wen to a broader case of fraud involving more than 61,000 bitcoins.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Andrew Penhale said: “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used by organized criminals to disguise and transfer assets, so that fraudsters may enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct.” 

He said that the CPS will work alongside law enforcement agencies to ensure that the fraudsters lose complete access to the seized assets. Also, to make sure that justice is served to anyone caught involved in any form of money laundering through cryptocurrency.