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Bank Staff Embezzled Millions to Invest Bitcoin but Ended up Losing All

A Chinese court has found a former bank employee guilty of embezzling millions of yuan to buy bitcoin.

Liu Lihua, 33, was convicted Tuesday by local court of embezzling 1.85 million yuan ($261k) and defrauding clients’ loan funds of a total of 770k ($110k), according to a judgment from the court in Hengfeng, Jiangxi province.

As a loan officer in a local commercial bank, Liu used his position access to steal that much of funds from the bank and use the embezzled money to invest bitcoin.

According to Liu, he got to know bitcoin as early as 2013 and started to invest bitcoin in 2018 after seeing bitcoin price spike to nearly $20,000 in late 2017. With an initial 100k, his bitcoin investment increased 16-fold to over 1.6 million yuan 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 if he could easily earn 1.6 million yuan, he could also earn 16 million and even more once he had more funds.

Over the course from 2018 to May 2019, Liu embezzled a total of 1.85 million yuan to transfer to his bitcoin accounts and cover personal expenses. To obtain more funds, Liu even falsely claimed bank loans of 770k yuan in the name of his clients.

While according to market information, bitcoin suffered a great crash in the year 2018, dropping all the way to a low of around $3,200 in December from above $15,000 at the year start. Caught up in the slump, Liu lost a total of 2 million yuan in his bitcoin investment.

Liu is now facing a sentence of 12 years in prison with a fine of 100k yuan for fraud and embezzlement, and ordered to return and compensate all the ill-gotten money.

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