Culture news Remember NFTs? The creator of a collection now faces 5 years in prison
Published on 11/21/2023 at 5:35 p.m.
The creator of one of the most famous NFT collections faces 5 years in prison.
Aurélien Michel, 25, former player at En Avant Gimgamp and son of ex-footballer Coco Michel, was arrested last January in New York. Since then, he has been released under judicial supervision. He is accused of “criminal conspiracy to commit electronic fraud”. Creator of “Mutant Ape Planet NFT”, he faces up to 5 years in prison, but he has already agreed to pay $1.4 million of the “seized” funds. With the help of these accomplices, the man scammed various investors by promising them numerous “benefits” linked to NFTs, thanks to a “rug pull” scam. In other words, donors’ money was stolen without a trace. As a reminder, NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens (non-fungible tokens in French) are digital objects with their own digital certificate of authenticity, thanks to the blockchain. They are therefore, by definition, unfalsifiable.
What are the charges?
The NFTs in question, from the Mutant Ape Planet collection, are not official works of art. Michel explained to his investors that these drawings were a derivative of Mutant Ape Yacht Club, a “mutant” version of the primates of the Bored Ape Yacht Club”. However, the two creations were never linked, these images were only “inspirations”.
Aurélien Michel and his associates have always maintained their innocence, explaining that they withdrew from the project because the community “became too toxic”. New York IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Fattorusso reports that Michel wanted to “sell dreams to investors that became a nightmare of deception and loss”. He continues, saying that “nothing excuses this kind of greed.” The small collective never respected its promise and wanted to leave with a loot of 3 million dollars. For its part, the “Mutant Ape Planet” collection is no longer available on the OpenSea NFT market for reasons of intellectual property violation.