An employee of Korea’s Woori Bank has been arrested for fraudulently using loan documents, stealing $15 million, and using the stolen funds to invest in cryptocurrencies.

An employee of Woori Bank’s corporate lending department falsified loan documents 35 times between July 2023 and May 2024, police say. The fraudulent loans were issued in the names of 17 clients, including individuals and companies. The bank employee invested the stolen funds in cryptocurrencies. Police did not specify which ones.

The prosecutor’s office froze the offender’s assets in the amount of about $3.2 million, including deposits on cryptocurrency exchanges, banks and credit companies.

Investigators believe the fraud was facilitated by inadequate business process management at the bank. Employees were able to approve emergency loans without an authorized person present, and the bank’s headquarters sent the loan funds directly to branches rather than to the borrower’s account, police say.

A similar story happened in China a few years ago. A Chinese bank employee stole 1.85 million yuan from the organization, which he then invested in bitcoins. However, the offender was unlucky with trading – he lost his invested funds when the first cryptocurrency fell.