A 23-year-old self-described “crypto king” from Whitby, Ontario, a town east of Toronto, allegedly owes at least $35 million to investors in what appears to be a crypto scam.
More than 150 investors who handed over a collective $20 million to Aiden Pleterski and his company AP Private Equity Limited, which is said to invest in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange, are now working with Toronto-based fraud recovery attorney Norman Grote to get their money back.
“It’s not clear at this time where that money has gone, although it’s clear that a lot of it has to do with his lifestyle,” Grote, founder of Investigation Counsellation PC, told CTV National News.
According to Groot, Plitersky owned 11 luxury cars, in addition to renting several more. He also rented a waterfront home in Burlington for $45,000 a month and owned five or six hours worth $200,000 to $400,000, according to a bankruptcy trustee report obtained by CTV National News.
“He was burning a lot of money,” Groot said.
To date, about $2.2 million in assets have been recovered, including two McLarens, two BMWs and a Lamborghini Huracan valued at about $350,000. About $32,000 in jewelry and $606,773 in cash and bank drafts were also recovered, according to bankruptcy documents filed in an Ontario court.
They thought he was a young Bill Gates.
These discoveries come amid ongoing troubles in the cryptocurrency world, which has suffered major losses as investors wake up to the reality of what digital assets that are not tied to a specific fixed asset or guaranteed by a government or institution are worth.
“The assets available so soon after bankruptcy are certainly far less than what is owed to investors,” Rob Stelzer, who has been appointed Blitersky’s bankruptcy trustee, told CTV News Toronto.
It also comes amid other allegations of planning and fraud — which have continued to prompt lawmakers to seek regulations regarding how cryptocurrencies are valued and traded, and how those investing in them on behalf of investors should report and verify transactions.
Plitersky called each week a “win week,” promising investors 5-75 on returns, according to documents from the August 29 creditors’ meeting.
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“People bought into it. They thought it was a young Bill Gates.
Pleterski reportedly started investing in cryptocurrency in 2015, with a Forbes paid article preceding his bankruptcy indicating his ability to leverage his knowledge as an avid player to understand the world of online trading and thrive.
“A lot of that money was taken away during its escalation in value, and then when it started rapidly declining in value, people wanted what they thought was their dividend… which, of course, was not able to pay,” Groot said.
“a twenty-year-old child”
At a hypothetical creditors meeting last month, Pletersky claimed he lost all the money he was awarded in late 2021 and early 2022 in a series of “margin calls and bad deals,” according to documents reviewed by CTV News Toronto.
During the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee requested evidence of these bad trades as well as bank statements. According to CTV News, the transcript reads: “So, so far, Pletersky has failed to do so.”
When asked why he kept investing money when he learned it couldn’t be repaid to investors, Plitersky said he was “…a 20-year-old.”
TheStreet recommends: Watch out for cryptocurrency scams related to the Queen
In response to questions about his bookkeeping, Peltersky said he was “extremely disorganized” and had “no accounting advice,” according to the minutes.
“Everything was transmitted by word of mouth and happened very quickly. He did not keep track of his finances, he did not keep a record of his indebtedness or payments. Plitersky claimed that he and the creditors signed the contracts via text messages,” according to the minutes of the meeting summarizing Plitersky’s responses on August 29.