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Singaporean Woman Sentenced in £3 Billion Bitcoin Fraud Case

Finance Magnates

Cryptocoins News / Finance Magnates 44 Views

Singaporean woman, Wen Jian, has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison by a London court for her role in laundering Bitcoin (BTC) tied to a staggering $6.4 billion Chinese fraud.

The case, which involved the seizure of over 61,000 BTC by the UK police, has shed light on the growing prevalence of cryptocurrency in global financial crimes.

Singaporean Woman Sentenced to Nearly 7 Years for Laundering Bitcoin

According to prosecutors, the $6.4 billion fraud was orchestrated by another woman who Wen believed to be independently wealthy. This individual allegedly defrauded nearly 130,000 Chinese investors through fraudulent wealth schemes between 2014 and 2017. When Chinese authorities started investigating the fraud in 2017, the mastermind fled to Britain.

Wen’s role in the scheme was to help conceal the source of the stolen money by converting it into Bitcoin, taking it out of China, and then converting it back into cash and property. Prosecutors argued that Wen should have been aware that the money was obtained illegally, but she maintained her innocence throughout the trial.

As part of their investigation, British police seized wallets containing over 61,000 BTC, making it one of the largest cryptocurrency seizures by law enforcement worldwide. The seized tokens were worth approximately £1.4 billion when police gained access in 2021 and have since appreciated to over £3 billion.

The Trial and Sentencing

Wenss defense lawyer Mark Harries painted a picture of a woman who had fallen prey to the machinations of a criminal mastermind. Harries argued that Wen was not a willing participant in the multi-billion dollar fraud and subsequent bitcoin laundering scheme but rather another victim of an "expert criminal supervillain" who had exploited her dependability and ultimately discarded her when she was no longer of use.

The women faced three counts of money laundering at Southwark Crown Court. In March, a jury found her guilty of one count but could not reach a verdict on the other two.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Sally-Ann Hales acknowledged that there was no evidence suggesting Wen's involvement in the underlying fraud. However, the judge stated that she had "no doubt" Wen knew she was dealing with criminal property.

Wen, who claimed she was trying to provide a better life for her son, was ultimately sentenced to six years and eight months in prison for a single count of money laundering.

The woman convicted in this case became a typical "money mule," a person tasked with laundering illegally obtained funds, thereby shifting potential responsibility for this operation onto her. The US CFTC had warned about this type of scam two weeks ago.

This article was written by Damian Chmiel at www.financemagnates.com.
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