He wanted his money back.
On Monday, the Toronto Police Service announced that it had arrested and charged four men for the December kidnapping of Aiden Pleterski, a 24-year-old self-described "Crypto King" who headed up a cryptocurrency investment business that quickly went bankrupt.
The suspects are facing dozens of other related charges, including discharging a firearm, kidnapping for ransom, aggravated assault, and extortion.
According to court records, Pleterski was lured into a vehicle by one of the suspects, and was held at gunpoint by two others once inside.
Over the next three days, Pleterski was allegedly beaten and tortured by his kidnappers across various locations. When they eventually dumped Platerski downtown, they threatened him to keep quiet.
Among the suspects charged was one of Pleterski's several dozen investors, 39-year-old Akil Heywood, who was elected by other investors to investigate what happened to their money, and himself had invested $740,000.
Pleterski initially made his small fortune from investing in crypto as a teenager.
After incorporating his business in December 2021, the "Crypto King" went on to raise over $41 million from investors — a lot of money to entrust with a barely twenty-something-year-old.
Court records show that Pleterski invested less than two percent of that money. A good chunk of the rest — nearly $16 million — he blew on what any suddenly rich kid would: luxury cars and lavish vacations.
Or, three McLarens, two Lambos, three Audis, and two BMWs, The New York Times reports. Plus, private jet flights to boot.
Apology Under Duress
In an edited video received by CBC Toronto, a visibly beaten Pleterski apologized to investors for the massively squandered funds.
"I'm sorry, I really am. I didn't want to, or mean to, ruin anybody's life," Pleterski said in the video.
"When the crypto market started to tank in November of 2021, I should have been honest with everybody," he added. "I lost close to $45 million strictly alone in the crypto market within one month."
While some of what Pleterski admitted to was accurate, said Pleterski's lawyer, "he was being forced to say a lot of it by his kidnappers," as quoted by CBC.
Nonetheless, by the video's end, Pleterski sounded determined to make up for his excess.
"I'm going to work for it," he said. "I'm going to live on the bare minimum until every last soul is paid back."
As of now, Heywood, along with one other subject, has been released on bail.
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