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'Crypto king' investor says she doesn’t believe Pleterski is orchestrating alleged Ponzi scheme alone

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An investor who handed Ontario’s so-called “crypto king” $75,000 believes Aiden Pleterski is not the sole mastermind orchestrating the alleged multi-million dollar investment scheme that’s become synonymous with his name.

“I'm not interested in seeing Aiden alone face the consequences,” Anna, whose identity has been concealed, said in an exclusive interview with W5 in Central America, where she says she is keeping a low profile.

“I'm really interested in these other people who were in his orbit, who were manipulating him into doing all of this.”

Pleterski was forced into bankruptcy in August 2022 after allegedly scamming hundreds of investors out of north of $40 million.

While the 25-year-old Whitby, Ont., resident has so far appeared to be at the helm of the multimillion-dollar ordeal, Anna said she has reasons to believe he’s not alone in executing the alleged scheme and could be under the pressure of extortion.

“I just don't see [how] a 22-year-old kid, which is what he was at the time, would think up this grand plan of how we are going to go after these millionaires, billionaires, people who have decades of very successful business experience.”

Anna, an investor whose identity has been concealed for her safety, sits down with W5's Avery Haines for an interview in South America.

In 2021, a decade-long friend introduced Anna to Pleterski. She said she was hesitant to put money down, but the fact that she personally knew 10 other people who had already done so made her "feel safe," she said. She wired $75,000 to Pleterski.

Anna was further convinced when her friend shared a picture showing wads of cash worth $10,000 – earnings from investments with Pleterski.

In just six weeks, Pleterski told Anna that her $75,000 investment was worth $120,000. But to this day, she has never seen a penny of her investments returned.

Text messages Anna received from a friend who invested with Aiden Pleterski.

Facing financial trouble, Pleterski told Anna he was on the receiving end of extortion threats, she said.

“He was saying that these people would show up at his house, threatening to go after his family,” she said, adding that it mounted to the point where Pleterski hired private security.

Norman Groot, a fraud lawyer representing one of Pleterski’s investors, said his office has received information suggesting that individuals involved in organized crime invested with the 25-year-old, to move cash into cryptocurrency before withdrawing it on the other side.

“I just believe that they don't want their source of funds investigated,” he said.

Anna, an investor who handed $75,000 to Aiden Pleterski, speaks out in a W5 interview in South America.

In his view, Groot said he has no reason to believe a puppet master is working above Pleterski.

“I suspect there are other people that he coordinates his money laundering through and are holding crypto or cash but I don't think there is a mastermind above Aiden Pleterski,” Groot said.

‘Mentorship and coaching’

Over three days in December 2022, in which Pleterski was allegedly kidnapped and tortured for $3 million in ransom, he spoke of his relationship with his landlord, Sandeep Gupta – a relationship a judge later called “curious and complex.”

In an edited and anonymously released recording posted on social media, Pleterski said, “When I noticed a lot of things were going south, I went to ask and kind of seek mentorship and coaching from Sandeep Gupta.”

Pleterski’s lawyer has stated that some of the statements in that video were coerced.

Aiden Pleterski, a self-described crypto king from Whitby, Ont., is seen after a kidnapping (left) and in a prior image on a private jet (right).

W5 reached out to Gupta for comment several times but received no response.

As part of Pleterski’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, Gupta underwent a court-ordered examination last February. In it, he said the pair’s relationship evolved from a landlord to a coach when Pleterski started facing financial trouble and falling behind on his monthly $45,000 rent at a Burlington mansion he lived in for close to a year until June 2022.

“I had to look at something to protect our investment,” Gupta, who holds the position of president at Sunray Group of Hotels Inc., said at the time.

To do so, Gupta explained, he moved Pleterski into another property. “I literally thought that he was going to be harmed … it was something that was no skin off our back,” he said.

The Burlington, Ont. mansion Aiden Pleterski paid $45,000 a month in rent to live in (Youtube).

Just days before he was kidnapped, Pleterski called Gupta a mentor in his own examination. When he was eventually released, the alleged kidnappers dropped him off near Gupta’s house.

“I don't know why he was released there,” Gupta said last February.

When asked in an interview with W5 to reflect on the events that have unfolded over the last two years, Groot, as a fraud recovery lawyer, said the key to the hearts of investors was they felt Pleterski was “trustworthy and reliable.”

“Any sort of fraud case takes some trust and then some deceit,” he said.

W5 will have an investigation into the so-called ‘Crypto King” Aiden Pleterski this week. You can watch ‘The Crypto Bros’ on Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.  

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