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.

The collection was meant a knockoff of Yuga Labs‘ premier Mutant Apes NFT collection, a permutation of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection.

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.”

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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