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Ontario’s ‘Crypto King’ and his associate arrested, charged with fraud | CBC News



Ontario’s ‘Crypto King’ and his associate arrested, charged with fraud | CBC News

Ontario’s self-proclaimed Crypto King and one of his associates have been arrested and charged with fraud.

Aiden Pleterski, 25, is facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime, according to the Oshawa court house. He was released on bail Tuesday, with his parents putting up a $100,000 surety that he will follow his bail conditions, according to court documents.

Those conditions include surrendering his passport, not contacting investors, refraining from making any social media posts involving financial matters, such as soliciting investments, and not buying or trading cryptocurrencies.

Pleterski’s associate, Colin Murphy, 27, has been charged with fraud over $5,000, according to Durham Regional Police. 

In a news release Wednesday, police said the two men had been charged following a 16-month investigation, dubbed Project Swan, into Pleterski. Durham police began receiving “numerous complaints” about an alleged investment fraud involving Pleterski in July 2022. 

During the investigation, police said they became aware of another man, Murphy, who claimed to be generating “large weekly profits through savvy investments.” Police allege some victims provided Murphy money under similar circumstances to Pleterski, with the expectation Murphy was investing it on their behalf. 

CBC Toronto has reported extensively on Pleterski since the summer of 2022, when he was forced into bankruptcy by some of his investors. For more than a year and a half now, Pleterski’s investors have been trying to track down more than $40 million they gave him to invest in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange. A Toronto-based bankruptcy proceeding that’s being heard in Ontario Superior Court has recovered about $3 million for roughly 160 investors.

Bankruptcy proceedings are administered by a licensed insolvency trustee, a federally regulated professional, responsible for investigating the finances of a person or business that has gone bankrupt and administering their estate. 

In this case, the trustee is from Grant Thornton, an accounting firm. The trustee’s investigation found that Pleterski only invested about two per cent of investor funds while spending nearly $16 million on himself — renting private jets, going on vacations, adding luxury cars to his collection and leasing a lakefront mansion prior to his bankruptcy.

Last fall, Pleterski was still jet-setting to U.K., Miami and Australia

WATCH | Aiden Pleterski streamed international travel while bankrupt: 

Ontario’s Crypto King recently travelled to U.K., Los Angeles and Miami while bankrupt

Aiden Pleterski, 25, has posted videos of luxury cars and partying on international trips he’s taken in the last two months.

At that time, Pleterski was presenting himself as a professional streamer online. When a viewer commented during a livestream that Pleterski was “jobless,” he replied in the video by saying “internet money gang, internet money.”

His arrest is just the latest twist in a more than year-long CBC Toronto investigation into the Crypto King, which has also included the arrest of one of his investors, for allegedly kidnapping him in December 2022, and a Canadian NBA star successfully suing to get out of his $8.4 million purchase of a lakefront mansion where Pleterski used to live.

Associate jailed for contempt of court

In February, CBC Toronto reported on Murphy’s sentencing for contempt of court in a lawsuit from an investor trying to recover $120,000 given to Murphy to invest with Pleterski.

Murphy was sentenced to five months in jail for refusing to surrender his iPhone while an Anton Piller order, a kind of civil search warrant, was executed against him early last year, and for deleting data on the phone afterward. 

At the time, Murphy told CBC Toronto he deleted data because he keeps “super sensitive stuff” on the phone concerning his girlfriend. Since then, Murphy has refused to disclose where the data he removed from his iPhone was preserved.

Murphy was released from jail in March pending an appeal of his contempt of court sentence.

Man sits on a Lamborghini luxury car.
Colin Murphy, an associate of Ontario’s self-described Crypto King, was previously sentenced to five months in jail for contempt of court in Oshawa, Ont. in February. (tspvisuals/Instagram)

He’s also been ordered to pay the investor in that case $120,000 in liquidated damages by surrendering his 2017 Porsche 9TS, 2020 Ford F250 and firearms for liquidation and sale. That comes from a default judgment Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh O’Connell issued against Murphy for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in November.

Unlike Murphy, Pleterski can’t currently be sued in civil court because his bankruptcy proceeding is still ongoing. 

Durham Regional Police Service and the Ontario Securities Commission will be holding a news conference in Whitby, Ont., Thursday regarding Pleterski.

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