Canada’s ‘Crypto King’ and Associate Arrested, Charged With Fraud in Alleged $30M Ponzi Scheme

Two Canadian men have been arrested and charged with fraud for allegedly swindling investors out of $40 million CAD – approximately $30 million USD –i n a crypto and foreign exchange investment scheme.

Self-proclaimed “Crypto King” Aiden Pleterski, 25, was charged with fraud and money laundering for his role in the alleged Ponzi scheme. His associate, 27-year-old Colin Murphy, was charged with fraud, the Ontario Securities Commission announced Wednesday.

The criminal charges, which are the result of a 16-month investigation Canadian authorities are calling Project Swan, come amid an ongoing bankruptcy case tied to the alleged scheme that has been the subject of much media attention in Canada.

According to court documents and local media reports, between 2021 and 2022, approximately 160 investors gave Pleterski and his company, AP Private Equity Limited, around $40 million in Canadian dollars ($30 million USD) to invest on their behalf in the crypto and foreign exchange markets. Some of those investors, according to reports, took out loans to invest with Pleterski.

The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy case concluded that Pleterski only invested 2% of the money he was given, and spent at least $16 million on himself – buying over 10 luxury cars, traveling internationally, and renting a $8.4 million lakefront mansion for $45,000 per month. Two McLarens, two BMWs and a Lamborghini were seized during the bankruptcy process.

Pleterski, who is also a small-time livestreamer, posted videos of his escapades – including numerous vacations to places like Los Angeles, London and Miami, driving rented Lamborghinis and McLarens, and detailing his expenditures. In one video, in which Pleterski filmed himself assembling a Lego model of the Titanic, he estimated that he’d spent $150,000 on Legos since 2021.

During the bankruptcy process, Pleterski referred to himself as a “20-something-year-old kid” and told creditors that he was unorganized and didn’t keep records of his finances or payments, according to a report from CBC.

In December 2022, Pleterski was allegedly kidnapped, beaten and tortured by five victims of his alleged Ponzi scheme. According to reports, Pleterski’s alleged abductors held him for three days and subjected him to torture before demanding his landlord-turned-mentor pay a $3 million ransom for his release.

Pleterski was eventually released, but a 12-minute video of him, appearing swollen and bruised while apologizing to investors – which his lawyer later said was coerced – was posted to social media.

Four of the alleged perpetrators have been arrested and charged with kidnapping.

Toronto-born NBA player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander purchased the $8.4 million lakefront mansion Pleterski once called home, but filed suit against the seller to back out of the purchase after he learned of its connection to Pleterski. According to reports, Gilgeous-Alexander and his girlfriend received a “threatening visit” from a man looking for Pleterski and subsequently learned that there had been threats to burn down the home.

Pleterski was released on $100,000 bail on Tuesday, signed for by his parents, according to a Wednesday report from CBC. Pleterski’s bail conditions require that he surrender his passport, refrain from posting anything on social media about financial matters, and not buy or trade crypto, the report added.

The Ontario Securities Commission said Wednesday that it will release “further information” on the case on Thursday.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

 

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