Aurelien Michel, the founder of Mutant Ape Planet — a Mutant Ape Yacht Club rip-off line, has been detained in New York over accusations of a rug pull scam to swindle investors out of $2.9 million.
Mutant Ape Planet Creator Arrested
A Brooklyn-based federal court has noted that Aurelien Michel was arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport over allegations that he stole over $2.9 million from investors in a rug pull scam.
According to a statement by the Department of Justice, Michel defrauded investors by making false representations of “giveaways, tokens with staking features, and merchandise collections.”
The statement notes that after Michel sold all the Mutant Ape Planet NFTs, he and other developers transferred $3 million of their earnings to other wallets. One of these wallets also comes under Michel’s control.
Michel Admits to the Rug Pull
According to reports, Michel admitted on Discord that he had perpetrated a rug pull, saying, “we never intended to rug but the community went way too toxic.” Regulators also note that the developers made vague promises about acquiring “metaverse land” for the project.
Mutant Ape Planet is a collection of 6,797 NFTs launched on the Ethereum blockchain. The collection has had a total sale volume of 567 Ether. However, the average price and sales volume has plummeted since January 2022.
On the Flipside
- On late Thursday afternoon, Michel will make his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cho of the Eastern District of New York.
Why You Should Care
This is the third time federal prosecutors have pushed against NFT projects trying to conduct a rug-pull.
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