An alleged kidnapping, duped investors and losses topping $40 million — those are some of the newest details emerging as authorities try to unravel what Canada’s self-proclaimed Crypto King did with the money investors gave him.
According to claims spelled out in a new trustee report from bankruptcy proceedings against Aiden Pleterski, while authorities were trying to track down millions of dollars given to him to invest, the 24-year-old was allegedly kidnapped in the middle of the night last December. The trustee believed much of it went to fuel a lavish lifestyle and that very little of it was actually invested.
Pleterski’s father told the trustee Pleterski was driven around Southern Ontario, beaten and tortured. Pleterski’s landlord said he got a call asking for ransom of $3 million.
Pleterski was released after a few days, the documents say, but was told he had to come up with the money soon.
CBC Toronto contacted Pleterski’s lawyer for comment on the latest allegations, but has not heard back.
WATCH | CBC’s Angelina King reports on the latest developments on Ontario’s so-called Crypto King:
Lawyer Norman Groot has been hired by some investors to recover money from Pleterski through civil claims. He says the $41.5 million figure might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Groot says that figure doesn’t include the cash or cryptocurrency that Pleterski received or transferred out, adding actual losses could be nearly double that amount.
Private jets, luxury cars, vacations
The trustee report reveals Pleterski took in $41.5 million from investors and told them he was investing it in crypto currency and foreign exchange. But the report says he invested less than two per cent of it — just $670,000.
Needing some place to store all of it, the report says Pleterski used investor money to put down a $500,000 deposit to buy a warehouse in Ajax.
It also says Pleterski spent over $1 million in investor money to live in a Burlington mansion, paying $45,000 per month in rent and putting down a deposit to buy it.
The report adds Colin Murphy, an alleged associate of Pleterski, got $1.3 million out of the scheme. CBC Toronto reached out to Murphy’s lawyer for comment but did not receive a response.
Murphy previously told CBC Toronto he’s innocent.
‘I guess you could say greed took over’
Meanwhile, Groot characterizes Pleterski’s operation as a Ponzi scheme.
Pleterski, for his part, told the trustee that when cryptocurrency fell in the fall of 2021, he lost investments but tried to get peoples’ money back.
“In doing so, I guess you could say greed took over, and I was taking very aggressive positions, and I was trying to make returns that obviously weren’t feasible or weren’t necessarily possible at the time, and it just caused more losses,” he said.
Investors have come forward trying to recoup $25 million, but bank records alleged Pleterski took in more than $41 million.