‘Crypto King’ arrest: Ontario police fear more victims in ‘massive’ fraud case

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Durham Regional Police fear there are more victims involved in a “massive” fraud case allegedly linked to Ontario’s self-declared “Crypto King.”

That so-called Crypto King, 25-year-old Aiden Pleterski from Whitby, is facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.

Durham police announced his arrest on Wednesday; Colin Murphy, a 27-year-old Oshawa man, is facing the same charges.

In an update Thursday, Durham police Chief Peter Moreira alleged Pleterski, who reportedly ran a firm dubbed AP Private Equity, was attempting to solicit investment as early as February.

“Investigators have spoken to many people who have been impacted by this fraud, and encourage anyone who may be a victim, or thinks that they may be a victim, to come forward,” he said.

Durham police’s 16-month-long probe, which involved the Ontario Securities Commission’s enforcement branch, began in July 2022 when the force began receiving “numerous complaints” about an investment fraud allegedly involving a Whitby man.

During their investigation, police said they also became aware of another individual associated with that man, who also claimed to be generating large weekly profits through savvy investments.

“Victims provided money to him under similar circumstances, with the expectation that he was investing it on their behalf and would be returning them large profits,” police said.

“These victims were ultimately defrauded as well, and unable to recover their funds.”

Police said Pleterski was held for a bail hearing, while Murphy was released on an undertaking.

Stephen Henkel, a senior investigator with the Ontario Securities Commission, told reporters Thursday Pleterski and Murphy were not registered with the agency.

“The size of the alleged fraud was massive and spanned across multiple jurisdictions,” he said.

“They are not permitted to engage in the business of trading securities or providing investment advice. It is critical that all those considering whether to purchase digital assets or any investment product first check whether the person or the business they are dealing with is registered with Canadian securities regulators.”

Det. David Jaciuk of Durham police’s financial crimes unit echoed Henkel’s statement.

“I have been in the unit for a while, and I can say that since my time in this unit … this is the largest one in the history of this police service,” he said.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. I know everyone’s heard that. But in cases of this, it’s too good to be true. Anybody who’s thinking of investing … contact the Ontario Securities Commission, see if they’re registered, see if they’re properly licensed.”

Anyone with new information is asked to contact police at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5353, or the Ontario Securities Commission at 1-877-785-1555.

This article was originally sourced from www.globalnews.ca