China's central bank says thousands of corrupt officials have stolen more than $120 billion and fled overseas since the mid-1990s — and the U.S. was a top destination.

The People's Bank of China released a study this week that says between 16,000 to 18,000 government officials and executives at state-owned enterprises smuggled about 800 billion yuan out of China between the mid-'90s and 2008.

The study says the officials smuggled money into the U.S., Australia, Canada and Holland, using offshore bank accounts or investments such as real estate or collectibles.

The report says the officials masked the thefts as business transactions by setting up private companies to receive the money transfers.