Late one night in early December, Aiden Plerski, a self-proclaimed « Crypto King, » was kidnapped, then beaten and tortured for three days, according to court documents.
Eventually, his captors — including one of his investors — let him go, but left him with a threat: Pay fast and don’t go to the police, court documents say.
This week, Akil Heywood, 39, who had run over with Mr Pleterski, 24, was accused of kidnapping him. The Toronto Police Service said in a declaration Monday that he arrested and indicted four men on kidnapping-for-ransom charges and other charges: Mr. Heywood, Tyler Fast, 37, and Deren Akyeam-Pong, 24, all from Toronto, as well as Rakeem Henry, 24 years old, from London.
Mr. Heywood was among dozens who invested with Mr. Pleterski, who was expected to invest his money in cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange positions, according to court documents. But after spending money fueling a lavish lifestyle, buying three Lamborghinis and three McLarens, Mr Plerski filed for bankruptcy in August, leaving investors wondering what happened to their money.
Mr. Heywood, who did not respond to requests for comment this week, had filed a claim for losing $740,000 he invested with Mr. Pleterski, according to Grant Thornton, the appointed receiver in the bankruptcy case. It was unclear whether the other three men charged in the kidnapping had also run over with Mr. Pleterski.
Here’s what to know about Mr. Pleterski, his kidnapping and bankruptcy filing.
A kidnapping in the middle of the night.
The Toronto Police Service said it was notified of a missing person in the downtown Toronto area on December 5. him, police said.
Toronto Police did not name Mr. Pleterski when they announced the arrests, but court documents indicate it was Mr. Pleterski who was abducted on the night of Dec. 5.
The suspects « demanded a large amount of Canadian currency, and the victim’s life and family were threatened, » police said.
The victim was « held captive » for three days as she was taken to different locations, where she was attacked, police said. At some point in the three days, police said, a gun was discharged, but they didn’t say if anyone was injured.
After three days, the victim was let go in downtown Toronto, police said.
In a court hearing in December, Dragan Pleterski, Mr. Pleterski’s father, said that while he was being kidnapped, his son was beaten and tortured, and that he was only allowed to make phone calls to certain people.
« I wasn’t one of those people he was allowed to contact, » said Mr. Pleterski. « He was released on the threat that he needed to get some money fast, and if he went to the police, there would be a lot more problems. »
An investigation led to the arrest of the four men in early July, one of whom had a loaded gun, police said.
Mr Heywood was arrested on 5 July and was released on bail. Mr. Fast was also released on bail.
As of Wednesday, Mr. Henry had not had a bail hearing and Mr. Akyeam-Pong was arrested following his bail hearing, according to the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto.
Mr. Henry did not respond to requests for comment this week. Mr. Akyeam-Pong and Mr. Fast could not be contacted and it was unclear whether they had lawyers.
Who is Aiden Pleterski?
Mr. Pleterski, a « self-described ‘Crypto King’, » ran AP Private Equity Limited as an investment business, according to court documents.
Mr. Pleterski did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Micheal Simaan, a lawyer for Mr. Pleterski, declined to comment on Wednesday.
Mr. Pletersky he attended Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, to study cybersecurity, according to a court interview he did for his bankruptcy case in November before he was kidnapped.
In the interview, Mr. Pleterski said that he had no formal education in investing, cryptocurrencies, financial markets or foreign exchange markets. Mr. Pleterski said he started investing in the cryptocurrency markets when he was about 16 or 17 after using cryptocurrency while playing video games.
« That’s what piqued my interest, » he said, adding that « around the same time on social media, that’s when I started seeing some people posting luxury cars too, posting lifestyles of luxury ».
Mr. Pleterski said he began investing with a few thousand dollars he had received from family members, including birthday money and umpires’ baseball games.
« Most of the money came from family members, » she said in the interview.
Three McLarens, two Lamborghinis and three Audis
Mr. Pleterski incorporated AP Private Equity Limited on December 13, 2021, according to court documents. Around that time, he started looking for people to invest in cryptocurrencies and foreign markets with.
Several people, including Mr. Heywood, have invested millions with Mr. Pleterski. According to court documents, Mr. Pleterski raised about $41.5 million from investors but invested only 1.6 percent of that money, « meaning 98.4 percent of what Pleterski has harvested was never invested ».
Instead, Mr. Pleterski spent about $15.9 million on « elaborate vacations, » private jet charters and several luxury vehicles, including three McLarens, two Lamborghinis, three Audis and two BMWs, according to the documents. court.
A bank analysis found that « the extravagant lifestyle Pleterski lived, financed by his investors, » had « eventually led to his bankruptcy, » court documents said.
More than 150 creditors filed claims against Mr. Pleterski in the bankruptcy case, according to Grant Thornton.
Mr. Pleterski appeared beaten in a video.
In a video received this week from CBC Toronto, a visibly defeated Mr. Pleterski apologized to the investors and provided a timeline of what had happened to the money they had lost. It’s unclear when the video was taken, but Mr. Pleterski’s attorney he told the news organization that his captors had forced him to speak.
“When the cryptocurrency market started to crash in November of 2021, I should have been honest with everyone,” Pleterski said in the video, adding that he lost about $45 million in the cryptocurrency market in one month.
« I’ve lost enough where my debts have exceeded my assets, » she said, adding later in the video that she wanted to « make it right for everyone. »
« I’ll do it before I go buy me another car, before I go buy me another watch, before I go buy me expensive clothes or anything, » Mr. Pleterski said. « I will live on the bare minimum until every last soul is repaid. »