The 24-year-old developer is accused of defrauding his victims of $2.9 million.
In the crypto ecosystem, we can never tell you enough: be careful with web 3 projects, especially those that look too good to be true. Buyers of a collection of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) recently paid the price.
These were manipulated by Aurélien Michel, a 24-year-old French developer living in the United Arab Emirates, who has just been arrested at John Kennedy International Airport in New York. The latter is accused by the US judge of defrauding buyers of his collection of NFT Mutant Ape Planet, for the amount of 2.9 million dollars in crypto.
Riding the wave of NFTs (although much calmer during the year 2022 in this bear market), the latter is the cause of a “carpet pull”. Specifically, Aurélien Michel attracted investors to his project and promised them many benefits after the purchase of these famous digital objects… But when all the NFTs were sold, Aurélien Michel “ceased all communication” and kept the beautiful loot.
“Buyers of the Mutant Ape Planet NFT Collection thought they were investing in a trendy new NFT, but they were duped and received none of the promised benefits,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent for Investigations of Homeland Security in New York .
The buyers’ cryptocurrencies were redirected “from the NFT Mutant Ape Planet project to cryptocurrency wallets controlled by Aurélien Michel”, the District of New York emphasizes.
As a reminder, an NFT (“non-fungible token”) is a digital title, issued by a blockchain (mainly Ethereum), and associated with a digital asset (photo, video, etc.). Each NFT is unique and cannot be reproduced. NFTs are used in art, the luxury sector or for trading cards in sports.
On social networks, “the developer even admitted to having carried out a “blanket pull”, while placing the responsibility on the backs of his NFT community. “We never intended to fold the blanket, but the community has become far too toxic.” he said .A defense that seems complicated in advance.