Allegedly, the mind behind the Mutant Ape Planet NFT collection, an attempt to imitate and jump on the Mutant Ape Yacht Club hype wagon, is responsible for defrauding investors of $2.9M.
The man in question is Aurelien Michel, a French national, and he was arrested on January 4, 2023, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. In a press release posted by The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, it’s described that A. Michel is charged in ‘Multi-Million Dollar International Fraud Scheme’. The scheme is even referred to as ‘Traditional Criminal Scheme’ which was used to ‘defraud consumers eager to participate in a new digital asset market’.
The accusations include the fact that A. Michel is responsible for orchestrating a rug pull scheme. According to Thomas Fattorusso, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge at the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), here’s how the scheme was conducted:
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Once the NFTs were sold-out, Michel allegedly ceased communications and withdrew purchasers’ funds from the company’s cryptocurrency wallets, lining his pockets with nearly $3 Million of investors’ money
After the collection was launched, those who got themselves a Mutant Ape Planet NFT had to pay the mint price of 0.15 ETH ($187). Today, after the news broke out, the most recent sales happened for as low as 0.010 ETH ($12.49).
The collection has 3,734 unique owners. This number constitutes the community which is trying to save the collection by not letting it die shrouded in the clouds of FUD, and skepticism.
Just recently, Nike’s RTFKT COO underwent a massive hack which resulted in a loss of most of his NFTs. The latest news about the Mutant Ape Planet NFT rug pull adds to the unpleasant atmosphere surrounding the current NFT market.