Last week, federal authorities arrested the founder of Mutant Ape Planet, Aurelien Michel. The NFT collection founder was accused of operating a scam scheme known as ‘NFT rug pull’.
However, it appears that may have been just one of the numerous scams that Michel may have pulled off.
On Friday, ZachXBT, a prominent blockchain analyst, alleged that on-chain data shows the founder of the NFT collection had made away with millions of dollars from a number of other similar scams.
The Binance address that belongs to Michel was connected by ZachXBT to accounts that were linked to Crazy Camels and Fashion Ape NFT, two well-known NFT rug pulls.
NFT rug pulls have become a popular scam after the concept of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was introduced.
Typically, the creators of the NFT projects sell thousands of tokens, claiming to offer utility and benefits, but they end up abandoning the project and stealing investors’ funds.
This means that all social channels, such as Twitter and Discord, are also deleted. The founders of Crazy Camel had collected $1.6 million from investors before they abandoned the project.
Likewise, $1.1 million was collected by the founders of Fashion Ape NFT before they did the same.
24-year old Michel was arrested by US federal agents on Wednesday in New York City at JFK airport. The French national has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.
This is due to the role he played in the NFT rug pull scheme associated with his Mutant Ape Planet project.
Michel pulled the plug on it after the project was able to generate about $2.9 million through NFT sales. Promises of merchandise collection, tokens boasting staking features, and giveaways had been made, but nothing happened.
It should be noted that the complaint that was filed against Michel by the Department of Justice (DOJ) had been unsealed on Thursday in Brooklyn federal court.
But, the said report did not mention the participation of the Mutant Ape Planet founder in any other rug pull schemes besides this one.
The DOJ’s complaint contained crypto account information of Michel and these were used by ZachXBT for tracking down his Binance account as well.
The blockchain analyst discovered the association of the said account with a number of other NFT rug pull scams that have happened previously.
Moreover, the profile of one of the co-founders of the Crazy Camel NFT project is also linked to the Instagram account of Michel.
According to ZachXBT, Michel’s use of the same accounts that can be publicly traced for carrying out several NFT scams is either a disregard for any kind of retribution, or he was naïve about the transparency associated with blockchain transactions.
The blockchain sleuth said that he may not have had a proper understanding of how blockchain works because they are depositing funds in their accounts on centralized exchanges.
The funds are then used for purchasing expensive NFTs, which are shown off on social media. According to the Justice Department, Michel had admitted to rug pulling on the Discord channel of his project.