A bank clerk who stole more than $600,000 and got plastic surgery in an attempt to hide from police has finally been caught after 25 years. Chen Yile, a pseudonym used by Chinese authorities, left her family behind to start a new life after the theft. She even got married to a new husband and welcomed a daughter. Now, she’s been taken into custody.
The Yueqing People’s Procuratorate announced Chen Yile’s arrest in a WeChat post, writing: “For 25 years, investigators never gave up on arresting Chen.” While they said they worked with several different government departments to find her and bring her to justice, they did not elaborate further. Chen confessed to all crimes and is said to have expressed remorse.
Chen used a loophole in the banking system where she worked as a teller to steal cash in 1997. She then got plastic surgery to change her appearance in an effort to evade authorities and moved to another province. She was 26 at the time of the crime.
Chen Yile seemed to disappear overnight
She hid large sums of money around her parents’ home and opened joint accounts with her siblings containing more than $300,000. While her father begged her to surrender, she refused, instead leaving behind passbooks for her family to be able to withdraw more cash. Her family handed the documents to police, who were unsuccessful in their efforts to find her.
Next, Chen Yile went to Shanghai with $59,000 in cash in tow. She got a new ID card and adopted a new identity before eventually settling in Guangdong in southeast China. There, she got remarried, had a daughter, and became the successful founder of a cleaning supplies company. Her new family is said to have no idea about her crimes until her arrest in December 2022.
Chen Yile is facing charges of corruption, identity fraud, and getting remarried before officially divorcing her first husband.