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Investors watching posts from 'Crypto King' in the wake of fraud, money laundering charges

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Former investors of the self-styled “Crypto King” say they are watching his social media accounts and worried his displays of wealth are signs he’s spending their money, even now, as another large expense tied to Aiden Pleterski has triggered a previously unreported lawsuit.

In the hours after police announced fraud and money laundering charges against Pleterski last week, he posted videos of himself dancing and lip syncing, without reference to the allegations against him that he ran a Ponzi scheme that duped investors out of more than $40 million.

Though it is difficult to say when the videos were recorded, they appear to show Pleterski in a hallway of a house and not in the midst of lavish trips to Los Angeles, London or Miami, as he has posted about since the civil suits against him began, but are now forbidden by his bail conditions.

“If you’ve got somebody with that kind of means and the kind of opportunity that he has coupled with his known history of travel and enjoying the good life, I can see why the Crown would say, you know what? You’re grounded. Your wings are clipped. Stay home,” said Vanessa Iafolla of Antifraud Intelligence Consulting in an interview.

The 25-year-old from Whitby, Ont. was released on a $100,000 bail with his parents signed as sureties and an order he reside at their home. Other conditions restrict Pleterski from attending any bus station, train station, airport and border crossing.

“There’s a very clear undertone in those restrictions, of don’t spend the money that’s not yours, essentially,” said Justin Villeneuve, a civil lawyer who is not involved in the case but has been following it closely.

The bail conditions also forbid him from using his online channels to sell investment products he once touted widely on social media and livestreaming channels – something police said they had evidence of him doing as recently as February.

Bankruptcy documents show he invested just 1.6 per cent of investors’ money and spent $15.9 million on his “personal lifestyle,” showing off photos of himself on private jets and videos of supercars parked outside of a waterfront Burlington mansion he rented.

That mansion was one location where Pleterski received a supply of “toilet units” worth $16,283.11 from Super Save Toilet Rentals, according to a lawsuit filed in December 2022.

“Super Save entered into a contract with Pleterski to provide toilet rentals to multiple locations, including the premises,” the lawsuit says, alleging the Pleterski still owes $6,094.91.

“Despite the terms of the Agreement and the notice provided by Super Save, the owner Pleterski in breach of the agreement failed to make payment in the required amount to Super Save,” it says.

It’s not clear what the toilet rentals were for. Photos show the Burlington mansion has luxurious bathrooms and Super Save Toilet Rentals didn’t respond to questions from CTV News. Pleterski didn’t file a statement of defence.

Durham's police chief announces "Project Swan," an investigation into so-called ‘Crypto King’ Aiden Pleterski, on May 16, 2024 (CTV/ Patrick Darrah)

Shortly after that, Pleterski vacated the home and it was sold by its owner to Canadian basketball star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his partner Hailey Summers. But shortly after they moved in, they were surprised to find people showing up at their home demanding information about Pleterski.

The couple moved out and sued, saying the previous owner had not disclosed Pleterski’s involvement in the home, and a judge undid the sale.

In December 2023, Pleterski was allegedly kidnapped by a group of people purportedly including one investor. A video released at the time showed him apologizing, though his lawyer has said more recently that his statements were coerced.

Pleterski’s criminal lawyers told CTV News that at this point they have no comment on the criminal allegations.

Lawyer Michael Nowina, who represents a group of investors, said in an interview it was “extremely gratifying” to see criminal charges brought against Pleterski last week.

“Mr. Pleterski had been very brazen in some of the things that he was doing during the bankruptcy process, and everyone was wondering, ‘Where are these funds coming from?’”

Creditors have received about $3.15 million so far, and of that about $900,000 came from Pleterski’s parents, according to bankruptcy filings.

The trustee was cautious about accepting Pleterski’s online displays of wealth, saying Pleterski admitted that some assets were “not real… he manufactured the appearance of being in possession of these digital assets,” though the trustee could not confirm that.

A discharge hearing for Pleterski’s bankruptcy will begin on June 6.

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