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Trustee Overseeing Ontario Crypto King’s Bankruptcy Wants No Discharge Until $4.5 Million Payment

14 June 2024 12:34, UTC

The Trustee in charge of Ontario’s “Crypto King” Aiden Pleterski’s bankruptcy proceedings wants a judge to deny the accused a discharge from bankruptcy. The accounting firm, Grant Thornton, says the 25-year-old should return more than $4.5 million in assets and funds that are currently untraceable.

Grant Thornton made this known in its latest report, stating that Pleterski has been uncooperative. The Trustee says the self-proclaimed crypto king has yet to account for a watch he bought for $360,000, about $2.7 million worth of cryptocurrency, and at least $500,000 allegedly spent trading digital assets, most of which he used for online gaming. Reports on Pleterski have also noted that he lost some of the amount to gambling.

While several reliable crypto casinos with best payouts allow users to deposit and withdraw funds using digital assets, these establishments don’t require players to verify their identity and often don’t have anti-money laundering (AML) measures in place, giving players more freedom, but also making it difficult for the occasional bad actor like Pleterski to go relatively unnoticed.

An Ontario Superior Court had ordered Pleterski and AP Private Equity Ltd., the crypto king’s company, into bankruptcy in August 2022. The court appointed Grant Thornton as the Trustee at the time.

Jake Wiebe, a Grant Thornton senior vice president, specified in a recent Trustee report that Pleterski maintained his lavish lifestyle and that the undisclosed funds and assets were used to support the extravagance. According to the report:

“Given Pleterski’s history and continued lack of cooperation, the trustee is very concerned that Pleterski’s continued travel and extravagance is being funded by assets that should be surrendered to the trustee.”

Evidence of continued extravagance includes several social media posts of expensive items, including a custom-made Spider-Man costume he wore for Halloween. There is also a post of Pleterski driving a luxury McLaren car in Los Angeles, California.

Grant Thornton’s bankruptcy report also contains other details of Pleterski’s dealings. The 670-page report, the sixth one since August 2022, notes that as recently as March, the crypto king used video gaming platforms to transfer more than US$500,000. Investigations show that one of the transactions was a transfer of US$280,000 to a third-party service, CS Virtual Trade Ltd. Seeing as video games are a channel for Pleterski’s transactions, the Trustee’s report includes a court order that compels Valve Corporation, the developer of gaming platform Steam, to freeze all of his accounts. This hopefully prevents the accused from any trading or liquidation via the gaming service or any online gambling platform.

Grant Thornton considered it necessary to investigate Pleterski’s dealings with video games following claims that the crypto king had several in-game assets he could sell for gaming currency or real fiat. Since the case began, authorities have successfully seized over $3.35 million worth of assets. This is a small fraction compared to the $40 million Pleterski allegedly received as investment payments. Pleterski allegedly only invested 1.6% of the total funds received.

The Trustee’s investigations into gaming began on July 12, 2023, when Pleterski boasted on a live stream with popular influencer Adin Ross about an inventory of in-game knives worth several hundred thousand dollars. Grant Thornton then reached out to Pleterski, who later claimed weeks later that the assets were fake. To confirm, the Trustee requested Pleterski’s login information and asked Steam for account activity. So far, neither request was granted.

Pleterski and associate Colin Murphy were eventually arrested on May 14, and have been charged with one count of fraud of over $5,000. The Durham Region’s police chief Peter Moreira called it the “largest fraud investigation” in the region. Pleterski made bail the same day after his parents put up a $100,000 surety. Persons accused of more than $5,000 face a prison term of up to 14 years.

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash