8 May 2023 |
When Eddy Alexandre launched EminiFX, a crypto and foreign currency exchange, he promised investors a weekly minimum of a 5% increase to their investments through a “Robo-Advisor” program. His investors believed his promises.
And why wouldn’t they? He was Haitian-Adventist like they were, and his presentations were often given in a Sabbath afternoon seminar after he’d preached the Sabbath sermon. His family had been an integral part of the Franco-Haitian community for generations.
People like them, too, could live the “millionaire lifestyle,” he said. What investors did not realize was it was all a scam to pay for Alexandre’s own millionaire lifestyle including a new BMW, Mercedes Benz, and multiple bank accounts.
In his deposition, the FBI special agent investigating the case says that Alexandre willfully and knowingly committed fraud. The agent states Alexandre lied to investors about how their money was used and broadcast misinformation with the purpose of misleading investors—in other words, commodities and wire fraud. EminiFX was supposed to trade foreign and crypto currency through a “Robo Advisor” program. This program, Alexandre told investors, was a trade secret. He told them they would earn at least 5% on their investment each week, and $1,000 would turn into a million in three years.
To back this claim, investors were given access to the EminiFX website, where they could watch their account grow between 5% and 9.99% each week. (Because of this, some investors feel Alexandre has been wrongfully charged, and high-level EminiFX leaders encouraged this idea with member Zoom meetings, held as recently as March 2023.)
Making the investments was easy. Of the more than $59,000,000 invested in one account, Alexandre spent approximately nine million to make bad personal investments which lost two-thirds of its value in four months. He also used the money to sell the con, renting expensive offices ($100,000 a month) in New York and hosting large events–over 11 million dollars was spent on a 2021 gala event.
Over 15 million was deposited into Alexandre’s direct bank account, and more spent to fund his own crypto wallet. Some of the money was donated to charity. Receiving withdrawals, while not impossible, was a difficult process, since the money had to come from new investors.
The con came to a halt upon the arrest of Alexandre by the FBI on May 12, 2022. He was let out on bail six hours later. A month later, David A. Castleman was court-appointed as receiver. Mr. Castleman is in charge of all EminiFX and assets owned by Alexandre and responsible for maximizing assets for the repayment of investors, creditors, and employees.
As of now, no funds have been distributed to investors, as the receiver must first identify all the parties involved and create a claims process, which is expected to be announced some time during this month. Alexandre pled guilty to defrauding investors on February 10, 2023.
Wil Morris Esq. and Ralph Stanley François have filed a class action suit on behalf of the 62,000 Haitian Americans who invested in EminiFX against Eddy Alexandre, the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and the General Conference.
“We just found out about this class action, and we’re still learning about this ourselves. Until we know more, we don’t have anything to share,” said the Florida Conference communications director when asked for comment.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York:
Eddy Alexandre, 50, of Valley Stream, New York, pled guilty to one count of commodities fraud and agreed to pay forfeiture in the amount of $248,829,277, as well as restitution in an amount to be specified by the Court. The offense of commodities fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The second quarter report will be released by the court-appointed receiver soon. This report should outline the plan for former investors to file claims. Sentencing for the case will begin on July 18, 2023.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has a page warning about investment fraud in faith-based communities—apparently a not-uncommon scam.