Waitress Was Laundering Crypto Money

A former restaurant waitress has been arrested for money laundering. The investigation resulted in the seizure of a total of 61,000 BTC.

From modesty to luxury in the blink of an eye

Arriving in England in 2015, Jian Wen lived simply between 2015 and 2016. Originally from China, the accused declared £12,800 in salary in 2015 . In 2017, she met a Chinese compatriot: Zhimin Qian. They move to a 10-bedroom property in London. Monthly rental cost: £17,000.

Wen’s lifestyle changes drastically, but she justifies it by explaining that she is a waitress in a prestigious hotel. His new encounter is then declared to be his boss.

His son then moved from China to attend a private school in the United Kingdom. Later, Wen states that she had received 3,000 BTC, then valued at approximately 17 million euros, by her “employer”.

Buying fever

Between 2017 and 2018, she bought several properties in London for varying amounts: £4.5M, £23.5M and £12.5M. Asked about the origin of the funds used to pay for the properties, she simply confirmed their legitimacy. She went to Dubai in 2019 and bought two properties, in October and November, for a total amount of more than 700 million euros.

During her interrogation, she explains that she encountered difficulties in laundering the funds due to the numerous KYCs. Faced with multiple purchases and sales of bitcoin, the police intervened and opened an investigation. After investigation, the CPS (Proceeds of Crime Division) obtained the freezing of assets and the confiscation of Wen’s 61,000 BTC.

The origin of the funds was criminal

“ Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly used by organized criminals to hide and transfer assets, so that fraudsters can reap the benefits of their criminal conduct. This case, involving the largest seizure of cryptocurrencies in the UK, illustrates the scale of the criminal proceeds available to these fraudsters ,” said Andrew Penhale, Crown Prosecutor.

In Wen’s case, things are a little more complicated. Although she maintains her innocence, the police continue to search for Zhimin Qian. This is not the first time that Zhimin Qian has had to face justice for similar facts. The investigation revealed that the bitcoins actually came from criminal sources . Wen’s sentencing will take place on May 10, 2024 at Southwark Crown Court.

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