Five men charged with abduction of Whitby’s ‘Crypto King’

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Published July 21, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Aiden Pleterski, Whitby's self-professed Crypto King who allegedly defrauded millions from investors was abducted last winter.

Five men from across the GTA are charged with abducting Whitby’s self-described “Crypto King” who is himself accused of running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Aiden Pleterski, 23, began investing family and friends’ funds into cryptocurrencies over the COVID-19 pandemic. After some initial success, he began expanding his circle of investors people around the GTA.

However, investors and fraud investigators allege Pleterski was conducting a Ponzi scheme, taking money from later investors and using it to pay out earlier ones. They additionally allege he skimmed a great deal of money off the top to fund a $45,000 per month rented house in Burlington, numerous luxury cars and high-end watches and jewlery.

Many of Pleterki’s investors have launched a lawsuit demanding a return of at least $35 million. However, authorities seized only $2 million worth of goods from Pleterski and many of his purchases, including Burlington home’s rent, were paid for in cash. Pleterski’s company AP Private Equity Ltd was dissolved in bankruptcy proceedings last year.

According to Toronto Police a man, later identified as Pleterski, was abducted from the city on Dec. 5, 2022. They allege he was lured to a car and had two guns drawn on him when he got in. Police say the kidnappers held Pleterski hostage for three days, during which they beat him.

A video featuring a battered Pleterski was later released on social media during which he apologized to investors. Pleterski was later released back into Toronto after he and his family’s lives were threatened and the kidnappers demanded he pay them a large amount of money. Police also allege one of the kidnappers fired a gun while they held Pleterski.

Police initially charged four people in connection with the kidnapping in July. They allege one man had a loaded pistol on his arrest. The suspects include;

  • Deren Akyeam-Pong, 24 of Toronto, who faces 34 charges including for the pistol,
  • Rakeem Henry, 24 of London, who faces 23 charges,
  • Akil Heywood, 39 of Toronto, who faces six charges, and
  • Tyler Fast, 37 of Toronto, who faces four charges.

A full list of the charges is available online.

A fifth man, Alfredo Paladino, 22, of Hamilton was arrested on July 20. He has been charged with 21 offences. All five suspects appeared in court between July 6 and July 21.

Heywood was later found to have invested $740,000 in Pleterski’s business and was part of the recovery effort during the bankruptcy proceedings. He has publically professed his innocence of the charges.

 

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