Prosecutors say 24-year-old Mutant Ape Planet promoter tricked investors
U.S. authorities in New York have arrested a Frenchman residing in the United Arab Emirates and charged him with defrauding purchasers of the Mutant Ape Planet NFT, a type of digital asset, saying he defrauded investors out of more than $2.9 million. rice field.
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Authorities detained 24-year-old Aurélien Michelle at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on Wednesday. He has been charged with fraud for allegedly carrying out a $2.9 million lag pull.
A lag pull is a scam in which the creators of non-fungible tokens or other digital assets solicit investments from unsuspecting victims and then abruptly abandon the project to retain the investor’s funds.
Under this scheme, Michel advertises Mutant Ape Planet NFTs to buyers, increasing demand for newly acquired assets and making false promises of numerous rewards and benefits designed to increase the value of the NFTs. bottom.
“None of the promised benefits were delivered. Instead, millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from NFT purchasers were diverted for Michelle’s personal gain,” the U.S. Department of Justice said. I’m here. To tell.
‘The community has become too toxic’
according to the perpetrator ComplaintThe Homeland Security Investigation Dark Web and Cryptocurrency Task Force has been investigating this scheme since April 2022.
Mutant Ape Planet NFTs are a form of digital asset that can be bought, sold and transferred on the Ethereum blockchain. Each Mutant Ape Planet NFT is unique, giving the purchaser exclusive ownership of her NFT.
“NFTs were sold with the promise of exclusive benefits that potential purchasers would receive,” court documents state. “These perks included exclusive opportunities for additional investments, giveaways, merchandise and other rewards.”
When the buyer became suspicious, Michel, who went by the pseudonym “James,” admitted to pulling the rug on the MAP Discord, court documents say. He said, “I didn’t mean to create a rag, but the community became too toxic,” and this “behavior led to this.”
Michel allegedly accessed the Discord server using an IP address assigned by the UAE provider.
“Michelle can no longer blame the NFT community for his criminal behavior. His arrest means he will face the consequences of his own actions,” says Thomas Fatruthso. .
blockchain investigator Zach XBT Michel also claimed to have pulled the rug in the famous Crazy Camels and Fashion Ape NFT collections.
By tracking 356.44 ETH transactions sent from Mutant Ape Planet’s smart contract, ZachXBT discovered Michelle’s CEX address listed in court documents, allowing Fashion Ape NFT’s team members to steal 1.1 million from their owners. Received the dollar and discovered that Crazy Camel received $1.6 million.
According to a report from a blockchain research firm, lag pull will account for 37% of all cryptocurrency fraud revenues, or $2.8 million worth of cryptocurrency, in 2021, compared to just 1% in 2020. was given. Chainalysis.
In March 2022, two 20-year-olds were arrested and charged in Los Angeles, California, for conspiring to commit wire fraud and launder money as part of a million-dollar scheme involving NFT. Either charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for her. (look: 20-year-old charged in NFT ‘lag pull’ fraud case).