Join us
Join us
Frenchman accused of NFT scam hires Madoff lawyer

Frenchman accused of NFT scam hires Madoff lawyer

The young Frenchman, Aurelien Michel in prison in the United States for NFTs scam, has hired Bernard Madoff's best lawyer : Ira Sorkin. The Madoff case is the biggest financial scam of the last years, the Frenchman is accused of having swindled nearly 3 million dollars with his collection of NFT Mutant Ape Planet.


Mis à jour le 01/26/2023 à 22:10

nft jail madoff

A Frenchman aged just 24 is accused in the United States of defrauding buyers of his non-fungible tokens (NFT) of more than $2.9 million in cryptocurrencies. In his defense, he just hired a criminal defense attorney. And he hasn’t chosen just any lawyer… His lawyer is the top lawyer in the Bernard Madoff case.

NFT scam : Who is the Frenchman arrested in the United States?

On January 4, 2023, a young Frenchman was arrested by U.S. authorities as he landed at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. His name is Aurelien Michel, son of former En Avant de Guingamp soccer player Claude Michel, he is originally from Brittany, France. He was living in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai before his arrest. He is accused of fraud using non-fungible tokens (NFT) called “Mutant Ape Planet” to defraud more than $2.9 million in cryptocurrencies.

After spending the night in police custody, he was immediately brought before a Brooklyn federal court judge, who ruled to keep him in custody pending trial.

For the American authorities, he is the mastermind of this scam. According to the indictment, Michel was the main administrator of the “Mutant Ape Planet” project, which was actually a plagiarism of the famous NFT collection “Mutant Ape Yacht Club“. He promised investors numerous benefits and rewards, and assured them that the value of their virtual images would skyrocket.

NFTs, sold on the Ethereum blockchain, cost about $468 each when the collection launched.

Aurelien Michel hires Madoff lawyer

You’ve probably heard of Bernard Madoff, an American financier who was convicted of fraud in 2009 for running one of the largest frauds of all time, involving billions of dollars. He ran one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, which earned him a 150 year prison sentence, or life. Madoff died two years ago in prison.

Well, the young Breton currently in prison in the United States for NFTs fraud has just hired the best lawyer of the Madoff case to represent him : Ira Sorkin.

Sorkin, who is a partner at the law firm Mintz & Gold LLP, said he is working with colleagues Adam Brody and Halle Preston to get Michel released on bail. Aurelien Michel’s initial bail was rejected as “insufficient” by a judge at a Jan. 10 hearing.

“This is an issue we are discussing with the government and we are optimistic that Aurelien Michel will be able to post bail at the next hearing, which will be held soon.”

Ira Sorkin, lawyer

Sorkin, a former federal prosecutor and enforcement attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, declined to comment on the allegations against his client.

⚠️ This article is published for informational purposes and should not be considered as investment advice. Crypto-currency trading involves risk and it is important not to invest more than you can afford to lose.

InvestX is not responsible for the quality of the products or services presented on this page and shall not be held liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused as a result of using any goods or services highlighted in this article. Investments related to crypto-assets are risky by nature, readers should do their own research before taking any action and only invest within the limits of their financial capabilities. This article does not constitute investment advice.



Léa is part of the InvestX team which supports members in their training. She is also a crypto enthusiast who follows the market closely. For the site, she writes articles to help readers decipher the news and what happens day after day in the world of blockchains.

Risk Warning: Trading financial instruments and/or crypto-currencies involves high risks, including the risk of losing all or part of your investment, and may not be suitable for all investors. Crypto-currency prices are extremely volatile and can be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases financial risk.


Before deciding to trade in financial instruments or crypto-currencies, you should be fully informed of the risks and fees associated with trading in the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and tolerance for risk, and seek professional advice if necessary.

Some of the partners featured on this site may not be regulated in your country. It is your responsibility to verify the compliance of these services with local regulations before using them.