Cops Crack $4.3B Bitcoin Laundering Case After 5-Year Chase

A former takeout worker in London has been convicted of laundering billions in Bitcoin through luxury goods and real estate.

South Korean police sees a money laundering machine.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • A former restaurant worker has been caught laundering billions of dollars in Bitcoin through luxury goods.
  • A complex five-year investigation has involved digital forensics and international cooperation.
  • Authorities have struggled to keep pace with criminals exploiting loopholes in cryptocurrency regulations.

A London resident has been found guilty of entering into a money laundering arrangement involving Billions of dollars in Bitcoin. Jian Wen, whose previous job involved working at a takeout restaurant, was caught up in a digital fortune valued at over $4.3 billion.

Ex-Takeaway Worker Busted Laundering Billions in Bitcoin

Wen’s scheme involved converting her massive Bitcoin holdings into physical assets like luxury jewelry and real estate. To avoid suspicion, she reportedly posed as an employee of a jewelry company while attempting to purchase expensive properties in London. However, these efforts failed to pass through money laundering checks. 

Jason Prins, a spokesperson for the department, highlighted their commitment to such complex cases, stating, "This verdict and lengthy five-year investigation demonstrates that we'll leave no stone unturned in our pursuit to catch criminals who look to enjoy the proceeds of illicit funds – no matter how complex the case,"

Wen’s claims of acquiring the funds through Bitcoin mining activities were also unsuccessful. Despite these setbacks, Wen purchased tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry in Switzerland and properties in Dubai in 2019. The investigation leading to her arrest spanned five years and involved extensive efforts by London Metropolitan Police. 

UK Case Highlights AML Challenges

The investigation involved searches of multiple locations, examining nearly 50 electronic devices, and translating documents from Mandarin Chinese. A freezing order granted by the High Court allows authorities to investigate the Bitcoin holdings further, with potential forfeiture on the table.


This case underscores the growing use of cryptocurrency in criminal activity. According to Andrew Penhale, chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), criminals increasingly favor cryptocurrencies for money laundering.

"Cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used by organized criminals to disguise and transfer assets, allowing fraudsters to enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct," Penhale said.

Wen awaits sentencing scheduled for May 10th, 2024. The case serves as a stark reminder of the challenges law enforcement faces in tackling financial crimes facilitated by cryptocurrency.

On the Flipside

  • The five-year investigation underlines the complexities of tracing and prosecuting cryptocurrency-related crimes.
  • The report doesn’t detail whether the original fraud involved Bitcoin or if it was converted into Bitcoin later.

Why This Matters

This conviction highlights the evolving tactics criminals use to launder money through cryptocurrency. It showcases the growing sophistication of law enforcement needed to combat this and raises concerns about potential loopholes in the global regulatory framework for digital assets.


The UK is mulling allowing crypto exchange-traded notes (ETNs) for certain investors.  Read more here:

UK Mulls Crypto Exchange Traded Notes for Select Investors

New regulations in the UK give law enforcement the power to freeze cryptocurrencies. This article discusses the impact on crypto holders. Find out more here:

UK Authorities Empowered to Freeze Crypto: Are You Affected?

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.