When Jian Wen Attempted to Purchase a home in Hampstead, his Bitcoin was Seized

A takeaway worker, who experienced a remarkable change in his living situation, has been sentenced to jail for money laundering.

Jian Wen, 42, residing in Parade Mansions, Hendon, had an astounding amount of over £3.4 billion in Bitcoin confiscated by the police. This seizure stands as the largest ever recorded in the UK.

During the court proceedings, prosecutors highlighted the significant amount of Bitcoin that was confiscated, the absence of any credible proof regarding its origin, and its association with a major investment scam in China. These factors strongly suggested that the Bitcoin in question was obtained through illegal means.

Wen found herself residing in a flat above a takeaway in Leeds when she got entangled in a criminal plot. Her role was to convert cryptocurrency into valuable assets like luxurious houses and expensive jewelry, all on behalf of another fraudster.

While in Leeds, she reported earning a modest amount of £12,800 in 2015 and £5,979 in 2016.

However, her lifestyle took a turn when she encountered another Chinese national who is allegedly responsible for the scheme, but has not been apprehended or brought to court.

Last year, they settled into a luxurious six-bedroom property in Hampstead, with a monthly rental cost exceeding £17,000.

The two women portrayed themselves as running a thriving international jewelry business, with Wen serving as the spokesperson who spoke English and appeared to be genuinely associated with her employer.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), her son was sent to the UK to attend a private school.

In autumn 2017, she attempted to purchase a series of high-priced houses in London. However, she faced difficulties in passing money-laundering checks. Additionally, her assertions of earning millions through Bitcoin mining were met with skepticism.

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Concern arose when she attempted to purchase a Hampstead mansion worth £23.5 million.

A mansion which Jian Wen tried to buy (Image: Met Police)

In addition to her international travels, she made significant purchases, including expensive jewelry in Zurich and properties in Dubai, during the year 2019.

On Wednesday (March 20), Wen was found guilty of one count of participating in a money laundering arrangement at Southwark Crown Court. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 10.

A guilty charge has been made in connection to the laundering of 150 Bitcoin, valued at approximately £7.5 million. The Metropolitan Police’s investigation has revealed her involvement in a larger fraudulent operation, resulting in the seizure of over 61,000 Bitcoin.

Jian Wen (Image: Met Police)

The CPS has secured a freezing order from the High Court as it conducts a civil recovery investigation that may result in the forfeiture of the Bitcoin.

According to Chief Crown prosecutor Andrew Penhale, there is a growing concern regarding the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by organized criminals. These digital currencies are being utilized to hide and move assets, allowing fraudsters to profit from their illegal activities.

This case highlights the magnitude of criminal proceeds accessible to fraudsters, as it involves the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK.

Despite the ongoing search for the main culprit, the Metropolitan Police and CPS have achieved a significant victory by obtaining a conviction for money laundering against Jian Wen, an individual involved in the illegal activity of cleaning up criminal funds.

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