A 23-year-old self-titled “Crypto King” from Whitby, Ontario, who just months ago was written about in finance publications, is now embroiled in a bankruptcy proceeding, and facing the ire of several investors who claim he lost their life savings. Aiden Pleterski, owner of AP Private Equity Limited, initially made headlines in Canada and abroad after his quick rise in the crypto world after discovering Bitcoin while playing video games as a teenager in 2015.
Within a few years, he had enjoyed significant success and secured a reputation as a savvy investor by investing and trading for himself. He subsequently started a firm called AP Private Equity Limited and began accepting investments from others who had heard about his success and were hoping to replicate his results. However, things soon took a turn for the worst when, after accepting millions in investments in 2021 and early 2022, AP Private Equity Limited was unable to fulfill the terms of the highly favourable contracts it had entered into with the investors. To date, nearly 150 investors have come forward, who collectively gave Pleterski over $20 million to invest on their behalf.
In the contracts, Pleterski agreed to a 70/30 split with respect to any capital gains realized on the investments, in favour of the investors. The contracts set a goal of growing the capital gains by approximately 10-20% per week. Further, the contract promised investors that if the funds were lost, the full value of the initial investment would be repaid in biweekly installments. Now some investors are wondering if the entire venture was simply a Ponzi scheme intending to defraud unsuspecting investors.
Bankruptcy Proceedings with Twenty Nine Creditors
Pleterski and AP Private Equity Limited are currently involved in a bankruptcy proceeding with 29 creditors who are looking to recoup a collective loss of $13 million. An initial meeting was held with Pleterski, the Trustee in Bankruptcy, and various creditors in August 2022. One creditor was Diane Moore, an Ontario resident who heard about Pleterski from a trusted friend. After giving him $60,000 from the funds she had been saving for her grandchildren’s education, she has only received $10,000 back. She had previously told friends about the opportunity who also chose to invest on their own, and she now lives with the guilt of knowing that she involved others, some of whom invested borrowed funds.
In the August meeting, creditors sought answers as to how the money was lost and where it went. Pleterski has made no secret of his elaborate lifestyle in the past two years, boasting about his luxury cars, designer clothes, private air travel, and renting a $45,000 per month waterfront mansion. For his part, Pleterski said that the bulk of the losses stemmed from “margin calls and bad trades.” Despite losing all of the money he had been entrusted with, he continued to accept new funds, with the same favourable repayment terms. When creditors asked him why, despite being unable to repay existing investors, he blamed his youth and inexperience.
The creditors pressed him to produce records of receipt and payment of funds from and to investors, and his response was simply to say that he was “very disorganized” and didn’t keep any records. Further, he claimed he had no accounting advice, despite accepting millions of dollars from dozens of investors.
Single Investor Claiming Loss of $4.5 Million Obtains Mareva Injunction
In a separate action, an investor who gave Pleterski $4.5 million successfully brought an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking a Mareva injunction against Pleterski and AP Private Equity Limited. A Mareva injunction is a remedy sought to freeze assets such as property and bank accounts pending the outcome of litigation in progress. In other words, it prevents someone from purposefully disposing of assets in anticipation of a judgment being issued against them.
The Mareva injunction is a fairly extraordinary remedy, and so the applicant must demonstrate a number of factors to the court before it will be granted:
- The applicant has a strong prima facie case against the defendant;
- The defendant has assets that are located in the relevant jurisdiction (in this case, Ontario);
- There is a significant risk that the defendant could remove these assets prior to a judgement being returned against them;
- That the applicant will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted; and
- That the balance of convenience is in favour of the applicant, meaning there is a greater risk of harm if the application is not granted, than if it is.
Corporate Statements of Account Questioned
As part of the application, the investor revealed that prior to investing, he had been assured that AP Private Equity Limited had more than enough in assets to fulfill the repayment of his investment, if necessary, as he was provided with images of company accounts statements with a known trading platform, showing a balance of $311 million. However, when the investor made inquiries with the platform directly, he was told that such accounts did not exist, raising the question of potential fraud and investor negligence.
To date, several investors who lost funds with Pleterski have reported the issue to police throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
For Exceptional Legal Representation in Asset Recovery and Other Claims Against Brokers and Financial Advisors Contact Milosevic Fiske LLP
The highly experienced investment loss lawyers at Milosevic Fiske LLP represent investors in asset recovery and investor fraud claims after they have suffered loss due to negligent or fraudulent actions and advice from their investment advisors. We understand the importance of immediate and strategic action in fraud situations and can act quickly to protect our client’s interests and ensure their issue is handled efficiently and effectively. To schedule a consultation and find out how we can help, call us at 416-916-1387 or contact us online.