The developer of a Mutant Ape Yacht Club knockoff collection, Mutant Ape Planet, has been arrested in New York, accused of allegedly “defrauding” investors of $2.9 million in a “carpet-ripping scheme.”
The arrest took place on January 4 at John F. International Airport in New York, and Homeland Security Agent Ivan J. Arvelo alleged that French national “Aurelien Michel perpetrated a carpet removal scheme” and stole “ nearly $3 million from investors for their own personal use,” stating:
“Mutant Ape Planet NFT buyers thought they were investing in a hot new collectible, but were deceived and received none of the promised benefits”
Internal Revenue Service agent Thomas Fattorusso was also quoted in a Justice Department press release as alleging that “Michel defrauded investors by making false representations of, among other things, gifts, staking-featured tokens, and merchandise collections”, before withdrawing the funds once the NFTs were depleted.
According to the statement, Michel is understood to have admitted to the community via a social media chat that he had perpetrated a rug pull, saying that “we never intended to, but the community got too toxic.”
The collection, an imitation of the popular Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, consists of 6,797 NFTs stored on the Ethereum blockchain with a sales value of 567 Ether (ETH), but has seen its average price and volume drop. sales since its launch in January. 2022.
Mutant Ape Planet NFT Collection Sales. Source: open sea
Following the arrest, holders of the collection have been sharing their side of the story via Twitter, noting that James had tried to blame his departure on the community, which was becoming skeptical due to the lack of activity.
When I’m reality what was happening was the founders were actually not delivering the promised utility which caused people to lose trust and then one day the founders completely disappeared with no notes nothing. Things went wrong here as many people left the community.
— PerfectElectro (@electro_perfect) January 5, 2023
Since then, the project has been taken over by the community that is trying to bring it back to life, led by a user with the pseudonym HTMadge.
A screenshot of discussions between community members. Source: Discord.
According to a DappRadar report on December 21, rug pulls, a type of exit scam in which the creators of a project suddenly pull liquidity from the platform, were the most common type of attack during 2022, accounting for 119 incidents and $ 200 million in stolen funds. .
Related: Magic Eden to refund users after fake NFTs sold due to exploit
Popular influencer and former adult film star Lana Rhoades has been accused of being behind one of the biggest rug pulls of 2022, after reportedly making off with $1.5 million from the sales of an NFT project that it has had less than 1 ETH in sales since its launch on February 1. release 2022.
This post Mutant Ape Planet Creator Arrested in New York for Alleged $2.9M NFT ‘Fraud’
was published first on https://cointelegraph.com/news/mutant-ape-planet-creator-arrested-in-ny-for-alleged-2-9m-nft-fraud