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French National Pleads Guilty To Mutant Ape Planet NFT Collection Rug Pull

A French national behind the Mutant Ape Planet non-fungible token (NFT) collection arrested over a $2.9 million rug pull in January has pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Aurelien Michel is currently facing a prison sentence of up to five years and a $1.4 million fine. Those who purchased this NFT collection poured millions of dollars due to the promise of rewards and benefits.

Sketchy Mutant Ape Planet NFT Collection

Despite the two names appearing similar, the Mutant Ape Planet NFT collection was unrelated to the Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection (MAYC) by Yuga Labs. MAYC is one of the most popular and costly NFT collections. However, Mutant Ape Planet had low-quality JPGs despite being pricey.

Despite the signs, people still invested millions of dollars in these NFT pieces. The NFTs quickly sold out after launch, with the creators shortly after transferring $2.9 million to the people to the crypto wallets under their control.

The prosecutors say that the accused French national admitted to the crime on a social media chat. He also blamed the people who purchased these NFTs, saying the project did not intend to rug-pull the community. He argued that the community became too toxic.

However, Michel’s defense on the case was not strong, with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announcing that Michel had pled guilty.

Michel Accused of A Rug Pull Scheme

One of the government agents involved in the case, Ivan J. Arvelo, opined that Michel enticed investors with a promise of capitalizing on the NFT trend. However, he later abandoned the project after making nearly $3 million worth of crypto from the investment. Arvelo, a Homeland Security agent, said Michel operated a “rug-pull scheme.”

“The defendant, accused of misleading the Mutant Ape NFT community, claimed innocence and even labeled victims as ‘too toxic.’ However, these attempts to evade responsibility came to a conclusion with today’s plea.” Agent Arvelo said.

The Mutant Ape Plant NFT collection has been delisted from the OpenSea NFT marketplace. OpenSea says the collection was removed on claims of intellectual property infringement.”

The collection is still visible on Coinbase. Its description on the platform says that each NFT allows the owner to be part of an exclusive community that offers different perks and experiences to holders. These NFTs have lost nearly all their value.

Ali Raza

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