Bitcoin Embezzlement Scheme Gone Bad for Bank Employee Facing 12 Years in Prison

A Chinese court has found a former bank employee guilty of embezzling millions of yuan to buy Bitcoin (BTC).

On Tuesday, a local court convicted Liu Lihua, 33, of embezzling 1.85 million yuan ($261,000) and defrauding clients’ loan funds of a total of 770,000 yuan ($108,704), according to a judgment from the court in Hengfeng, Jiangxi province.

As a loan officer at a local commercial bank, Liu used his position to access and steal funds from the bank. He then used the embezzled money to invest in Bitcoin.

According to Liu, he learned about Bitcoin as early as 2013 and started to invest in the cryptocurrency in 2018 after seeing BTC’s price spike to nearly $20,000 in late 2017. With an initial investment of 100,000 yuan ($14,117), his Bitcoin investment increased 16-fold to over 1.6 million yuan ($225,880) in just one week.

Emboldened by the amazing high returns, Liu began to bet big on Bitcoin at the cost of breaking the law, believing that if he could easily earn 1.6 million yuan, he could also earn 16 million or more once he had additional funds.

From 2018 to May of 2019, Liu embezzled a total of 1.85 million yuan ($261,000), transferring it to his Bitcoin accounts and covering personal expenses. To obtain more funds, Liu falsely claimed bank loans totaling 770,000 yuan ($108,704) in the names of his clients.

Bitcoin suffered a great crash in 2018, dropping all the way to a low of around $3,200 in December from over $15,000 at the start of the year. Succumbing to the BTC collapse, Liu lost a total of 2 million yuan ($282,350) that he’d invested in Bitcoin.

Liu is now facing a 12-year prison sentence and a fine of 100,000 yuan ($14,117) for fraud and embezzlement and has been ordered to return all the ill-gotten funds.

Lylian Teng

Big hi there, this is Lylian, an editor with 8btc. Interested in new stuff going on around the world. Get the latest Chinese policies on blockchain and cryptocurrency for you.

This article originally appeared on, the oldest and most influential independent platform covering Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency news in China, and has been reprinted with permission.

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