Canadian self-proclaimed 'Crypto King' and associate charged with fraud

FILE PHOTO: Representations of cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dash plunge into water in this illustration taken, May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

TORONTO (Reuters) - A self-proclaimed Canadian "Crypto King" and an associate who received more than C$40 million ($29.4 million) from investors have been arrested and charged with fraud, police said on Wednesday.

Aiden Pleterski, 25, was charged with fraud over C$5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime on May 2, Durham Regional Police said in a statement. Pleterski's associate, Colin Murphy, 27, was also charged with fraud and released on an undertaking, the statement added.

The two men were charged following a 16-month investigation after police began receiving numerous complaints starting July 2022 about an investment fraud. The investigation revealed that the two were "generating large weekly profits through savvy investments," the statement said, adding that the victims were ultimately "defrauded" and unable to recover their funds.

In August 2022, an Ontario's Superior Court ordered Pleterski and his company, AP Private Equity Ltd, into bankruptcy and appointed Grant Thornton Ltd as trustee.

Pleterski received C$41.5 million in investment funds but only 1.6% of that sum appears to have been invested, according to court records posted online by Grant Thornton.

Pleterski, who was released on a C$100,000 bail with his parents signing as sureties, is required to hand in his passport to the Durham police.

Michael Simaan, a lawyer who has represented Pleterski in the past, did not respond to calls for comment from Reuters.

Pleterski, who has over 100,000 social media followers, would flaunt his travels and several luxury cars, including Lamborghinis and McLarens.

"18-25 is a weird age. We have friends who don't drive, some have kids, some are getting married, some are dating, and some still have to ask their parents go out [sic] after 10 pm," wrote Pleterski in the text overlay of a video posted to TikTok late on Tuesday.

($1 = 1.3602 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Saadeq Ahmed; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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