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25-year old Canadian crypto guru charged for $30m ponzi

Canada’s self-named ‘crypto king’ has been has been charged with $30 million fraud.

According to a May 15 announcement from the Ontario Securities Commission, Two Canadian men, namely Aiden Pleterski, 25, and Colin Murphy, 27, have been charged for duping Canadians out of $40 million CAD (approximately $30 million USD). 

Pleterski, who called himself ‘the crypto king,’ has been charged with fraud and money laundering for his role in an alleged Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, his associate was charged with fraud.

The charges come after a 16-month investigation dubbed Project Swan, which was active alongside a bankruptcy case related to the scheme.

Documents from court and local media reports suggest that between 2021 and 2022, the duo raised around $40 million from 160 investors. They masqueraded under the name of AP Private Equity Limited and promised to invest the funds in crypto and foreign exchange markets.

Some investors reportedly took out loans to invest in Pleterski’s scheme.

However, as with every ponzi, the accused only a meager portion of the funds for investments and spent the rest on personal gains.

The Bankruptcy trustee for the case revealed that only 2% of the total funds raised had been invested. Pleterski spent the rest on buying 10 luxury cars, traveling internationally, and renting a $8.4 million lakefront mansion for $45,000 a month.

In total, the self-anointed king spent at least $16 million in investor funds on himself. Authorities have seized two McLarens, two BMWs, and a Lamborghini as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

Pleterski was often seen boasting his lavish style on social media platforms. He also live-streamed his trips and vacations and was seen driving luxury vehicles and spending lavishly.

He even claimed to have spent $150,000 on Legos in a video where he was building a Lego model of the Titanic.

During the bankruptcy proceeding, Pleterski referred to himself as a “20-something-year-old kid” who was unorganized. He also admitted to not keeping any records of his finances or payments.

He is currently out on a $100,000 bail on Tuesday. The bail was signed by his parents and requires Pleterski to surrender his passport and refrain from finance-related social media posting.

He has also been ordered not to buy or trade cryptocurrencies. The Ontario Securities Commission will continue with the investigation, and more information will be released in the near future.

The charges coincide with Canada’s plan to tighten its grip on the crypto sector. Regulators are looking to enforce the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) by 2026. The framework will introduce fresh reporting requirements and stricter oversight to mitigate crypto tax evasion.

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