Aiden Pleterski – a 23-year-old Canadian trader and self-described “Crypto King” – is being sued after allegedly failing to return at least $35 million to his investors.
Authorities have already seized $2 million in assets from the Ontarian, including two McLarens, two BMWs, and a Lamborghini.
Crypto Trader, or Fraudster?
Pleterski ran a business called AP Private Equity Limited, through which he promised to generate high returns for investors through well-timed crypto and Forex trades.
As covered by CBC, creditors like Diane Moore invested $60,000 she had once earmarked for her grandchildren’s education. Her agreement with Pleterski included a promise for 70% of any capital gains produced by the trader, and a full return of her initial investment if things went south. The contract promised roughly 10 to 20% biweekly returns.
However, only $10,000 of that initial investment remains.
“The whole thing was based on trust,” Moore said. “What Aiden has done, I think, is awful — and I don’t know how he can live with himself.”
Moore now doubts whether Pleterski was ever a trader to begin with, or if he deliberately robbed people through his investment scheme. She is now one of 29 creditors involved in a bankruptcy proceeding against Pleterski, claiming they’re owed $13 million.
Another investor who claims to have lost $4.5 million has obtained a Mareva injunction against the so-called “Crypto King.” This means Pleterski’s assets and bank accounts are now frozen worldwide.
Norman Groot, the founder of the fraud recovery law firm investigating the trader, has obtained information from roughly 140 investors who were impacted. He found that Pleterski lived a luxurious lifestyle: 11 vehicles, a private jet, and a lakefront mansion in Burlington, Ontario rented for $45,000 per month.
“This guy had a large lifestyle burn rate, but it doesn’t account for the amount of money that’s missing,” Groot told CBC Toronto.
Groot said that tracing the location of the remaining funds may prove difficult because Pleterski received many of his investments in cash.
Groot added that many of the funds were provided to Pleterski while greed and excitement were brewing during a rallying crypto market.
Pleterski’s lawyer told Micheal Simaan CBC that creditors’ claims against the trader have been “wildly exaggerated.”
By his account, the trader began crypto investing as a teenager, and people began giving him money once they found out how much he was making. However, he never solicited funds from others.
“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,” wrote Simaan.