The Frenchman who started the Mutant Ape variant, which was modelled after the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collections, Michel Aurelien, has entered a guilty plea to a charge of conspiring to conduct wire fraud. Not affiliated with or approved by YugaLabs, the Mutant Ape collection rose to prominence in a few of months until its originator stated that the community had grown too toxic and it was taken down from OpenSea. It was eventually discovered, though, that the founder and his group had always planned a rugpull and had no intention of following through on pledges to provide products, financial opportunities, and other benefits.
Agents from the Homeland Security Investigation detained Aurelien at JFK Airport in January and charged him with scamming investors. He now faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for his role in a scheme to commit $3 million worth of wire fraud. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace underlined the dedication to shielding investors from dishonest players in the cryptocurrency space and beyond. Aurelien has consented to relinquish his assets and pay $1.4 million to the victims of the rugpull. His sentencing will happen later. It’s unclear what will happen to the remaining $1.6 million.