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Ontario 'crypto king' associate sentenced to jail

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An associate of Ontario’s so-called “crypto king" has been sentenced to five months in jail after refusing to surrender an iPhone to investigators and destroying data, a judge said.

Colin Murphy, 27, was taken into police custody on Friday with his official sentencing set to start at the Lindsay, Ont. prison on Feb. 8 after he was declared in contempt of court.

He was previously ordered to repay $120,000 to investor Craig Sutherland and turn in his Porsche, Ford pick-up truck and gold plated firearms to the court following a ruling in November.

Murphy represented himself in court, appearing in light-wash jeans and an army green hoodie on Friday.

This is the first criminal charge laid in connection with 25-year-old Aiden Pleterski’s alleged Ponzi scheme.

Sutherland launched a civil suit against Murphy in December 2022, but the case veered into criminal jurisdiction after Murphy hid and withheld evidence from court officers who showed up at his girlfriend's home with an injunction to seize his assets last January, the judge ruled.

“It was a deliberate violation of a court order,” Justice O’Connell said at the sentencing on Friday.

Murphy allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme parallel to Pleterski's, investors claim. Pleterski was forced into bankruptcy in August 2022 after allegedly scamming hundreds of investors out of more than $40 million.

“I want my money,” Sutherland said, sitting beside his legal counsel wearing a black leather jacket on Friday.  

Colin Murphy walks into a court house in Oshawa after he was sued $120,000.

Still tracing assets

Murphy surrendered his truck and Porsche, which are set to be liquidated within the next month. But the court heard that he refused to hand over his guns after insisting a firearms expert send proof of his licence prior to a meeting that was set to take place earlier this week.

“I will not be meeting you and you can cry about it in court,” Murphy wrote in a Jan. 31 email to the firearms expert, which the judge read to the courtroom on Friday.

“Those emails show a cockiness that is really quite incredible,” Justice O’Connell commented. “It almost exhibits to me you don't understand the severity of all this.”

During the sentencing, the judge said that Murphy’s behaviour often amounted to “giving the middle finger” and “snubbing his nose” at the court.

How it unfolded

In the summer of 2021, Murphy pulled into Sutherland’s Oshawa driveway in a Porsche, he said in an interview with W5, premiering on Feb. 3.

Murphy was there to collect thousands in cash he claimed would be invested in cryptocurrency.

“It was pretty impressive,” Sutherland said in the exclusive interview. He was dazzled by the wealth that showered Murphy’s stories of sailing on yachts and weekly returns in the range of eight per cent.

Craig Sutherland tells W5 he initially handed over $40,000 in cash and over the course of four months he transferred a total of $270,000 to Colin Murphy. (W5's 'The Crypto Bros)

“I figured he must be doing something right to be cruising around with a Porsche,” he said.

Sutherland initially handed over $40,000 in cash and over the course of four months transferred a total of $270,000, he said.

When Sutherland first met Pleterski, the so-called “crypto king,” at a racetrack in southwestern Ontario with Murphy, he said the introduction left him even more impressed.

“After I saw that Aiden was down there with his McLaren it kind of sold me that this was legit, that these guys got money and I should probably toss more money in because these guys are getting huge returns” Sutherland said.

Sutherland was told that his investment with Murphy ballooned to $878,000 at its height.

“When the communications started to slow down and there was no more discussion on the percentage of earnings that I was making … that's when I started to get bothered,” Sutherland said.

He said he asked Murphy to take out his original investment of $120,000 and even reached out to Pleterski directly, but the two pointed fingers at each other saying the other lost his money.

Colin Murphy walks out of an Oshawa courthouse while W5's Avery Haines asks him questions about an upcoming sentencing.

“I don't think I believed anybody at that point because, when it was starting to fall apart, if it was legit, the money would have been there,” Sutherland said.

While Murphy has been sentenced to five months in jail, Pleterski’s bankruptcy proceedings are nearing the 20-month mark.

W5 has learned there is a joint task force investigating Pleterski, but the Durham Regional Police Service and Ontario Securities commission refused to comment on whether criminal fraud charges could be a possible consequence for the so-called crypto king, who continues to solicit investment advice on Instagram and live stream world travels.

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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