• The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the arrest of Aurelien Michel, the 24-year-old developer of the Ethereum NFT collection Mutant Ape Planet.
• The DoJ has levied criminal charges of fraud and defrauding investors via a $2.9 million rug pull.
• The federal authorities alleged that Michel and others had made fake promises about acquiring the “metaverse land” for the NFT project.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) recently announced the arrest of Aurelien Michel, the 24-year-old developer of the Mutant Ape Planet NFTs collection. Michel was taken into custody at JFK airport in New York City on Thursday, January 5th, on charges of wire fraud. The DoJ alleged that Michel had defrauded investors of $2.9 million in a “rug pull” by making false promises to purchasers of the NFTs.
The federal authorities claim that Michel and other developers of Mutant Ape Planet had marketed the NFTs to prospective buyers, promising them rewards, raffles, exclusive access to other cryptocurrency assets, and the support of a community wallet with funds to be used to market the NFTs. The DoJ also noted that the developers had made false claims about acquiring the “metaverse land” for the NFT project.
This is the third time in recent months that the US government has taken action against alleged NFT scams. In August 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged two individuals over an alleged $15 million NFT scam. In November, the SEC also charged two individuals for a $1.7 million NFT fraud.
The arrest of Michel serves as a reminder of the importance of exercising caution when investing in any cryptocurrency, including NFTs. Investing in any asset carries a certain degree of risk, and investors should always make sure to do their due diligence before investing. Additionally, investors should be aware of the potential for scams, and should never provide personal information or funds to any unverified parties.