Canadian law enforcement agents have reportedly arrested 39-year-old Akil Heywood over allegations that he kidnapped, threatened and beat Aiden Pleterski in December 2022. The latter allegedly orchestrated a crypto scam, draining more than $40 million investors. Records show Heywood invested $740,000 with Pleterski, making him one of countless victims.
The alleged fraudster apologized in a recent video, vowing to “live with the bare minimum” to repay defrauded investors.
A brutal way to get revenge?
As reported Per CBC, Heywood is among five people facing charges related to the kidnapping and assault of self-proclaimed “Crypto King” Aiden Pleterski late last year. The former was believed to be one of the people lured into a cryptocurrency scheme run by the latter and served as an inspector in the bankruptcy proceedings of the case.
“I’ve never seen a bankruptcy proceeding where an inspector is charged with kidnapping and forcible confinement related to the recovery of money in a bankruptcy,” said fraud recovery attorney Norman Groot.
A spokesperson for Grant Thornton said Heywood resigned as inspector on July 7. Besides the alleged kidnapping, the 39-year-old president of Atlantic Mas Camp allegedly threatened bankruptcy trustee Rob Stelzer to get him to pay $2 million in cryptocurrency (a sum well above the $740,000 he lost by investing with the “Crypto King”). While the investigation is ongoing, Canadian authorities have released Heywood on bail.
Pleterski’s attorney – Micheal Simaan – said his client “is grateful for the work of the Toronto police in apprehending those involved in his abduction and assault”.
It should be mentioned that Pleterski warned against Heywood’s aggressive behavior two weeks before the kidnapping. He said in an interview that the accused kidnapper “is still, by the way, making threats, and very dangerous and violent threats, against me through comment sections and text messages on Instagram”.
The other four men charged with Pleterski’s kidnapping face additional charges, including pointing a gun at him. None of the claims have so far been tested in court.
From a ‘Crypto King’ to a man begging for forgiveness
In addition to reporting on the kidnapping and the associated suspects, the outlet released a video showing how Pleterski regrets the losses he caused to investors. The visibly beaten man explained that he started dealing with digital currencies in 2020, while in the following months he offered his services to family, friends and others.
And while the system worked perfectly during the crypto bull market, “everything went downhill” when prices started to fall.
“When the crypto market started crashing in November 2021, I should have been honest with everyone. I lost enough where my debts outweighed my assets…I lost nearly $45 million strictly alone in the crypto market in one month,” Pleterski said.
According to a bankruptcy report viewed by CBC, the “Crypto King” only used $670,700 of the aforementioned sum as planned, while he spent around $16 million to fund his lavish lifestyle (leaving in holidays, renting private jets and buying luxury cars).
Pleterski admitted to using some investor deposits for car payments, food expenses and house settlements. He said he felt “very humbled” and “embarrassed”, promising to work around the clock to reimburse the victims:
“I’m going to do it before I go buy another car before I go buy another watch before I go buy expensive clothes or whatever. I will live with the bare minimum until the last soul is repaid.
On the other hand, Pleterski’s attorney claimed that the information in the video should not be taken for granted as his client could have been coerced into saying these things by his captors. Additionally, the alleged crypto scammer insisted he was innocent.
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