US authorities have arrested Aurelien Michel, creator of the NFT group Mutant Ape Planet. The set was a “clone” of the popular Mutant Ape Yacht Club set by Yuga Labs. Michelle had set up the group with the sole purpose of striking a blow at investors, hence, the name would be similar to the Yuga Labs group.
Furthermore, according to the indictment, it was part of the fraud scheme to promise false rewards and benefits. Fake offers have been introduced with the aim of increasing the value of NFTs and increasing demand.
According to an official memo from the New York Department of Justice, once the sale was made, the money was transferred for Michelle’s personal benefit. The accused was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport and must appear in US court to present his defense.
“As alleged, the defendant used an ordinary criminal scheme to defraud consumers eager to participate in a new market for digital assets,” said the US Attorney for the Peace.
According to him, protection against fraud and manipulation extends to all consumers and investors, including those participating in the rapidly developing market for NFTs and other crypto assets.
Scam with NFTs
“Our office is committed to bringing to justice any criminal who abuses any market for his gain,” said the US attorney.
In a chat linked to the lawsuit and held on a social network, Michel admitted that he defrauded investors, but blamed the NFT community for his actions, stating that he never intended to be a scam, but rather that “the community has been very toxic.”
The case is being reviewed by Deputy United States Attorney Drew Rolle and Dylan Stern of the office’s securities and commercial fraud division, with assistance from paralegal expert William Daniels.