Joining the list of Web3 criminals, French national Aurelien Michel has admitted to harassing innocent members of the NFT community, while also stealing $3 million (approximately Rs 24 crore) from a scam NFT project. Mitchell is the developer of the NFT collection named ‘Mutant Ape Planet’ series. Inspired by the popular Mutant Apes NFT collection owned by Yuga Labs, Mitchell’s creation was a copy of the original NFT series. The accused was arrested in New York City earlier this year.
Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York Posted Official update about the case on 14 November.
Commenting on the development, United States Attorney Breonna Peace said, “With today’s guilty plea, Mitchell admits that he conspired with others to defraud consumers seeking to participate in the new digital asset market Was.”
As part of this case, US authorities have also noted that they are aware of scammers who are abusing the digital asset space to commit large-scale fraud such as fraud and money laundering.
In Mitchell’s case, he was enticing investors to buy his fake Mutant Apes-inspired NFT pieces. NFTs are digital collectibles that are secured on blockchain networks, have inherent financial value and are often part of online gaming and metaverse experiences.
After the 25-year-old managed to raise nearly $3 million (roughly Rs. 24 crores), Mitchell abandoned the project in a typical ‘rag pull’ style.
“Mitchell and his co-conspirators marketed NFTs by falsely promising buyers various rewards and benefits designed to increase the demand and value of their newly acquired NFTs. But Mitchell and his co-conspirators knowingly failed to follow through on these promises, using millions of dollars of the proceeds for their personal benefit, while continuing to pretend that profits would be forthcoming,” the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Mitchell launches Mutant Ape Planet NFT collection backed on Ethereum in 2022. At the time of its launch, each of the 9,999 images of the mutant apes was priced at $468 (approximately Rs 38,880).
At present, the number of people defrauded by Mitchell through this NFT scam remains unknown. As part of his sentence, Mitchell will have to agree to pay a fine of $1.4 million (roughly Rs. 11 crores) as well as face up to five years in prison.
(TagstoTranslate)Aurélien Michel Mutant App Yacht NFT Knock Off Pleads Guilty Rug Pull Theft Cryptocurrency