Mutant Ape Scammer Enters Plea In Trial• November 14, 2023 10:37 pm • Comments
An alleged scammer responsible for creating the Mutant Ape Planet NFT collection and the ensuing rug pull pleaded guilty to an international scheme to defraud investors, according to prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York.
Aurelien Michel reportedly diverted the funds he collected from investors to pay for personal expenses instead of funding the project and making true on his promise of several deliverables included in the NFT purchases. Decrypt provided this statement from US attorney Breon Peace:
“With today’s guilty plea, Michel has admitted that he conspired with others to defraud consumers eager to participate in a new digital asset market.
Our office is acutely aware that criminal actors are taking advantage of the constant pace of innovation in the digital asset space and the investing public’s desire to become involved in cryptocurrency to perpetrate large-scale frauds.”
Prosecutors claim Michel defrauded hopeful investors out of roughly 3 million dollars. The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced on Tuesday:
“Nonfungible Token (NFT) Developer Pleads Guilty to an International Scheme to Defraud NFT Purchasers. Aurelien Michel Conspired to Steal From Purchasers of ‘Mutant Ape Planet’ NFTs Through False Promises and Misrepresentations.”
Nonfungible Token (NFT) Developer Pleads Guilty to an International Scheme to Defraud NFT Purchasers
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) November 14, 2023
Aurelien Michel pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection w/ defrauding purchasers of “Mutant Ape Planet” #NFTs, a type of #digitalasset. He has also agreed to pay $1.4M in forfeiture. @IRSCI_NY w/ @HSINewYork#FollowTheMoney #WhatWeDoCounts #NFT @IRS_CI https://t.co/wQOwOlfoee pic.twitter.com/VBHGDVyThi
— IRS Criminal Investigation New York Field Office (@IRSCI_NY) November 14, 2023
I guess it is possible to lock up scammers in #Web3 now 😏
🚨 Historic moment in crypto! Aurelien Michel, creator of Mutant Ape Planet NFT, pleads guilty to wire fraud, marking the first-ever conviction for an NFT "rug pull" scheme. Faces up to 5 years in prison and $1.4 million… pic.twitter.com/cECdM1IPK7
— JimBeanlit.eth🔥 (@jimbeanLit) November 14, 2023
Crypto Crimes, EDNY: today Aurelien Michel, a French national who had been living in the UAE, pled guilty to
"conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with defrauding purchasers of 'Mutant Ape Planet' NFTs, a type of digital asset." Karony up next in EDNY https://t.co/2zoVd9DfQJ
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) November 14, 2023
Coin Telegraph provided more background information on Michel’s arrest:
Michel was arrested in New York on Jan. 4, 2023, on charges related to the scheme. The DOJ said on Jan. 5 that Michel admitted to the NFT collection’s community via a social media chat that he perpetrated a rug pull and said “we never intended to rug but the community went way too toxic.”
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