Five Charged in France With $2.5M Fraud Targeting Bored Ape NFT Owners
Noted online crypto sleuth "ZachXBT" played a key role in helping French authorities uncover the fraudulent Bored Ape NFT scheme.
Five people have been charged in France on allegations that they fraudulently acquired $2.5 million worth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), mainly targeting Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) owners.
The prosecution alleged that the suspects used a phishing operation to acquire the assets, luring victims via a fake website that promised to animate their NFTs, according to reporting by the Agence France Presse (AFP) posted by Barrons.
The charges levied against the suspects, all of whom aged between 30 and 24, include “include fraud committed as part of a criminal gang, concealing fraud and criminal association.”
The suspects, who conducted the scheme between late 2021 and early 2022, were based in Paris and the French cities of Caen and Tours.
Two of these subjects, who were said to have been the ringleaders, have been held in pre-trial detention, according to AFP’s reporting.
A parent of one of the accused was also arrested, but they have now been released without charge.
Though the company has not yet been accused of any wrongdoing officially, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating the start up, if the unnamed sources reported by Bloomberg are to be believed.
The report claims that the watchdog is looking into whether the company violated any federal laws by issuing NFTs that act similarly to stocks.
The SEC is also reportedly looking into how YugaLab’s Ethereum-based ApeCoin is distributed.