- The collection’s creator, Aurelien Michel, was arrested at JFK airport on Wednesday.
- The inventor was jailed for attempting to steal $2.9 million in bitcoin.
- The developer of the Baller Ape Club NFT collection was accused by the DOJ of taking $2.6 million.
Federal investigators arrested Aurelien Michel, the creator of the NFT collection Mutant Ape Planet, last week for supposedly arranging a “NFT rug pull” fraud. Michel walked away with millions of dollars from numerous other identical scams, according to popular blockchain expert ZachXBT on Friday.
I took a look at Aurelien’s CEX address named in the complaint for Mutant Ape Planet— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) January 6, 2023
Using it you can see he is likely a team member of the $1.1m rug pull @fashionapenft as well since he received $123k from the mint
And was also on the team for Crazy Camels $1.6m rug pull https://t.co/Gpb3LVkRXX pic.twitter.com/KcSMQu6aJF
ZachXBT tweeted how he had found Michel’s CEX address and revealed that Michel’s Binance address was associated with two other notable NFT rug pulls, Fashion Ape NFT for $123k from the mint and Crazy Camels for a $1.6m rug pull. ZachXBT has also found Michel’s CEX address.
How did I find his CEX address?— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) January 6, 2023
Well if you go to the complaint it’s mentions 356.44 ETH was transferred to “crypto exchange 1” which is “one of the largest crypto exchange platforms” beginning Feb 5 2022. pic.twitter.com/t3GhHz7dwq
Prior to this, Michel was arrested by US federal officials at JFK airport in New York City on Wednesday. Authorities have charged him with wire fraud conspiracy for his alleged involvement in rug-pulling Mutant Ape Planet NFT holders.
It could have been only one of Michel’s countless fraud attempts. Michel unexpectedly canceled the initiative, which had offered customers freebies, tokens with staking characteristics, and goods collections, after it had generated $2.9 million.
The DOJ accused the creator of the Baller Ape Club NFT franchise of rug-pulling with $2.6 million in accusations in June. The company’s first rug-pulling case was filed against the Frostie NFT project’s developers, who were accused of scamming $1.1 million in investors.
Members of the collection have spoken out on Twitter, claiming that James attempted to blame his departure on the community, which had developed skepticism due to a lack of involvement. Last year, rug pulls were the most regular form of attack, accounting for 119 incidents and $200 million in stolen goods.
According to the Federal Department’s lawsuit against Michel, the entrepreneur went so far as to publicly admit on a Mutant Ape Planet Discord chat that he had rugged customers.