A takeaway worker who went from living above a Chinese restaurant to living in a multi-million pound home in Hampstead has been jailed for money laundering.

Jian Wen, 42, of Parade Mansions, Hendon, had over £3.4 billion in Bitcoin seized by police – the UK’s largest Bitcoin seizure yet.

Prosecutors told the court the sheer scale of the seized Bitcoin, the lack of any legitimate evidence for how it was acquired and its connection to a massive investment fraud in China, all indicated that it was criminal property.

Wen was living in a flat above a takeaway in Leeds when she became involved in a criminal scheme to convert the cryptocurrency on behalf of another fraudster into assets including multi-million pound houses and thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.

Ham & High: Jian Wen in NorwayJian Wen in Norway (Image: Met Police)

During her time in Leeds, she declared modest earnings in 2015 and 2016 of just £12,800 and £5,979.

But when she met a fellow Chinese national believed to be behind the scheme, who is yet to be arrest and brought before court, her lifestyle changed.

In 2017, they moved into a six-bedroom property in Hampstead, at a rental cost of over £17,000 each month.

The two women presented themselves as successfully operating an international jewellery business, with Wen operating as the English-speaking and apparently legitimate front person for her employer.

Her son was sent to the UK to attend private school, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Ham & High: Piles of cash found connected to WenPiles of cash found connected to Wen (Image: Met Police)

From autumn 2017 she tried to buy a string of expensive houses in London but struggled to pass money-laundering checks, and her claims that she had earned millions mining Bitcoin were not believed.

Alarm bells rang when she tried to buy a £23.5 million Hampstead mansion.

Ham & High: A mansion which Jian Wen tried to buyA mansion which Jian Wen tried to buy (Image: Met Police)

She also travelled abroad, buying jewellery worth tens of thousands of pounds in Zurich and properties in Dubai in 2019.

On Wednesday (March 20), Wen was convicted of one count of entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement at Southwark Crown Court. She is due to be sentenced on May 10.

The guilty charge is linked to 150 Bitcoin being laundered, which is worth around £7.5 million, but the Metropolitan Police said its investigation had linked her to a wider fraudulent operation and it seized more than 61,000 Bitcoin.

Ham & High: Jian WenJian Wen (Image: Met Police)

The CPS has obtained a freezing order from the High Court while it carries out a civil recovery investigation that could lead to the forfeiture of the Bitcoin.

Chief Crown prosecutor Andrew Penhale said: “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used by organised criminals to disguise and transfer assets, so that fraudsters may enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct.

“This case, involving the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK, illustrates the scale of criminal proceeds available to those fraudsters.

“Although the original fraudster remains at large, the Metropolitan Police and CPS have successfully secured a money laundering conviction against Jian Wen, an individual employed to launder criminal proceeds.”