‘Crypto King’ Kidnapped and Beaten by Defrauded Investors

Photo Credit: Instagram/@aiden.ptrs

A disgruntled Toronto investor who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ontario’s self-proclaimed ‘Crypto King’ is one of five men facing felony charges connected to the alleged kidnapping and beating of Aiden Pleterski last December.

Akil Heywood, chairman of event company Atlantic Mas, has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping Pleterski and for threatening the administrator overseeing the bankruptcy in an attempt to get $2 Mn in cryptocurrency.

According to court documents, Pleterski managed an investment fund that purportedly invested clients’ funds in cryptocurrencies and foreign currency. However, of the $41.5 Mn he received, Pleterski allegedly invested only $670,000. Less than 2% of the total.

Meanwhile, Pleterski allegedly spent close to $16 Mn on his “personal lifestyle”, which involved renting private jets, going on elaborate vacations, and purchasing exotic vehicles, such as “a Ferrari, four Audis, three Lamborghinis, three McLarens, a Land Rover, and a BMW.”

Based on the pattern of conduct of Aiden being unresponsive to numerous calls, not transferring principal interests, and repeatedly posting extravagant assets on social media acquired along the way, the alleged perpetrators became agitated and took it upon themselves to attempt to collect their money.

He was eventually released under the condition that he quickly find the money to the kidnappers, and he was further threatened that contacting authorities would lead to more austere consequences.

Less than two weeks before Pleterski was allegedly kidnapped, he was interviewed for the bankruptcy on Nov. 24, 2022.

During the interview, Pleterski told the representative for the trustee that “Akil [Heywood] is still, by the way, uttering threats, and very dangerous, violent threats, to me over Instagram comment sections and text messages.”

According to Pleterski’s bankruptcy testimony, trouble first emerged for the 23-year-old in November 2021, when he claimed to lose all of his investments at a time when crypto markets began to reverse from their all-time highs.

As his losses began to mount, he said he took very aggressive positions to try and “get some people their money back.”

“I essentially tried to redeem myself […] but obviously in doing so, I guess you could say greed took over”, he testified. “I was trying to make returns that obviously weren’t feasible or weren’t necessarily possible at the time, and it just caused more losses.”

Considering the recent finding of Christian Peev, another crypto investor accused of fraud which ended up in a brutal murder, it’s clear that the crypto markets have become a hotbed of malfeasance. Caveat Emptor being the operative watchword for investors thinking of diversifying with crypto.

Heywood and three of the other men have been arrested. There’s a warrant out for the arrest of the fifth man.

Pleterski has not been arrested on criminal charges and promises to repay the stolen money.