Creditors of the 23-year-old Canadian crypto fraudster Aiden Pleterski may have a tough time recovering the money they have lost as a result of their exposure to this young man’s Ponzi scheme.
Thus far, only two McLaren and two BMW vehicles have been seized by authorities from Ontario, with the two automobiles being valued at roughly $2 million. This figure makes up for only a small fraction of the $35 million creditors reportedly poured into Pleterski’s crypto fund.
To attract investors, Pleterski offered sizable returns and a money-back guarantee if the capital was lost as a result of his operations. One of his former clients told a well-known Canadian media outlet that she was offered a 70-30 split on all capital gains with Pleterski offering to produce returns ranging from 10% to 20% every two weeks.
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The seizure of Pleterski’s assets came as part of bankruptcy proceedings against his firm. In addition, approximately 140 customers responded to requests for information from a fraud recovery law firm that will also be pursuing legal action against him.
A significant portion of the funds handed over to Pleterski were given in cash and that complicates the task of tracing the assets. Moreover, knowledge of the crypto space may have allowed the fraudster to convert this money into cryptocurrency to launder it and send it to unknown wallets or even cold storage devices, which would make the task of recovering the funds even harder.
Court Documents Reveal Pleterski’s ‘Modus Operandi’
Court documents from one of Pleterski’s victims – Sacha Singh – lawyers explain that the young crypto investor persuaded Singh to invest a substantial amount of money, in a company called AP Private Equity Ltd.
From 1 April to 16 January, the plaintiff invested over $4.5 million with Pleterski in an arrangement that promised to return 70% of any gains made by the “Crypto King”. The agreement stated that the investor would be able to withdraw any amount of money they wanted at any given point and that a deposit would be sent in three business days.
A Belize-based brokerage firm called FXChoice was allegedly used by Pleterski to perform the investment transactions and several reports from the broker appear to have been fabricated to mislead the victim in regard to the balance of her account. Later on, Singh found that neither Pleterski nor his firm had an account with FXChoice.
Between February and March, Singh sent several withdrawal requests to AP Private Equity but they went unanswered. The victim claims that she only received $10,000 from Pleterski.
According to the young investor’s lawyer, Pleterski never solicited money from these investors. Instead, he claims they approached him first after they saw how much he was making through his crypto trading operations.
“Shockingly, it seems that nobody bothered to consider what would happen if the cryptocurrency market plummeted or whether Aiden, as a very young man, was qualified to handle these types of investments”, commented Pleterski’s lawyer, Micheal Simaan.
The Canadian investor claims that the money was lost as a result of several leveraged bets that went wrong. However, detailed evidence of these trades that explain how they may have eaten up the fund’s capital has not been provided to the trustees appointed for the bankruptcy proceeding.
FTC Report Points to $1 Billion Stolen from US Investors via Crypto Scams
The crypto space has been getting increasingly used by fraudsters and conmen who offer outrageous returns to lure unwary investors. The decentralized nature of cryptos makes it easier to hide the funds and the lack of regulatory oversight of the firms that provide services within this industry has also contributed to facilitating things for scam artists.
A recent report from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that roughly $1 billion were stolen in a year primarily through social media scams and investment-related frauds. To avoid being a victim of these schemes, the FTC recommends investors to “steer clear” of guaranteed returns, hard-selling techniques, and investment advice in the context of online dating.
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