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

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

Aiden Pleterski's investors have been trying for more than a year to track down more than $40M they gave him

A young man sits in the seat of a private jet looking at his phone.

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

Aiden Pleterski, 25, was charged with fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime on May 2, according to the Oshawa court house.

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.

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 to 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

6 months ago

Duration 3:05

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."

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 has 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Brockbank

Reporter, CBC Toronto

Nicole Brockbank is a reporter for CBC Toronto's Enterprise Unit. Fuelled by coffee, she digs up, researches and writes original investigative and feature stories. nicole.brockbank@cbc.ca

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