Two men are facing fraud charges following a joint investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and Durham Regional Police into alleged investment schemes involving the self-proclaimed “crypto king.”

Police announced that Aiden Pleterski, 25, of Whitby, Ont., and associate Colin Murphy, 27, of Oshawa, Ont., have both been charged with fraud over $5,000. Pleterski was also charged with money laundering.

The allegations have not been proven.

The charges follow an investigation that began in July 2022, after police reported receiving numerous complaints about an alleged investment fraud involving the two men, who promised victims that they could generate large trading profits. Ultimately, investors lost their money.

The criminal charges come in the wake of other legal action against Pleterski.

In April 2022, Pleterski and his company, AP Private Equity Ltd., were sued by a former investor who claimed that he invested over $4.5 million with Pleterski to trade in crypto and foreign exchange, alleging that, instead of receiving returns, he’d been defrauded.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted an injunction against Pleterski and his company, concluding that there was a strong prima facie case that he’d committed a breach of contract and civil fraud. And in August 2022, Pleterski and his company were judged to be bankrupt by the court.

According to court filings, the bankruptcy trustee, Grant Thornton Ltd., found that Pleterski and his company had collected $41.5 million from investors, but only about 1.6% of that money was ever invested.

“Pleterski spent $15.9 million on his personal lifestyle including the purchase of exotic vehicles, renting private jets, elaborate vacations, etc., which equates to approximately 38% of the money he raised from investors,” the trustee said in court filings.

The trustee also sought to recover $900,000 from Murphy, finding that he had received over $1.3 million from Pleterski and the company, and had paid them approximately $400,000.

In July 2023, Murphy filed a consumer proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, claiming that he had approximately $100,000 of realizable assets but that these assets may be encumbered, court filings noted.

Following the charges filed Wednesday, Pleterski was held for a bail hearing, and Murphy was released on an undertaking.