British citizen found guilty in $6b Bitcoin fraud scheme 

Wen Jian was found guilty by a London court on one count of Bitcoin money laundering in connection to a $6 billion Chinese investment scam.

On March 20, a U.K. jury found sufficient evidence linking Jian to Qian Zhimin, the apparent mastermind of a multi-year Bitcoin (BTC) fraud scheme that impacted some 130,000 investors in China, per local media SCMP.

Between 2017 and 2022, Zhimin reportedly used seven offices overseeing 10 investment firms spread throughout Asia to raise billions in illicit wealth. According to Jian, Zhimin recruited her under pretenses in September 2017 from an East London-located fast food store. 

While the convicted denied wrongdoings throughout the trial, government lawyers successfully argued that Jian lived an affluent life funded by fraudulent assets and was aware of Zhimin’s operations. 

The pair reportedly laundered Bitcoin to acquire assets in Dubai, Europe, and the U.K. for at least three years. London police seized $2.2 billion in BTC during a 2018 house raid. Enforcement agents said the property belonged to Zhimin and Jian.

London’s Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent, Jason Prins, declared that the outcome underscored efforts to tackle an international financial crime operation that sought to leverage cryptocurrencies in bad faith.

Bitcoin ineffective for crypto crime

The case is one of several examples of criminal elements using digital assets for sinister agendas. However, the blockchain’s transparency and open access to on-chain transactions have allowed securities agencies to track stolen wealth in these cases.

As reported on March 12, the U.S. Department of Justice secured a guilty verdict against Bitcoin Fog founder Roman Sterlingov. 

The 33-year-old Swedish-Russian national was convicted of obscuring $400 million in suspicious Bitcoin transactions via his crypto-mixing service. $78 million was directly linked to illicit drug sales on the dark web.

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