David Castleman, the court-appointed receiver in the EminiFX case, said the portal’s goal is to collect information about transactions, including cash, investors may have contributed to the fraudulent scheme.
This reporting is sponsored by a grant from The McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York.
Learn more about the center here.
NEW YORK — On Wednesday morning, EminiFX investors received an email with instructions to log into a portal to verify transactions that a court-appointed receiver had linked to their names. By the afternoon, some recipients were already grumbling that the amounts shown were lower than they had contributed.
“They stole my money,” said Willy Pétion, a Pennsylvania truck driver, after logging into the portal and not seeing his entire cash and bank contributions reflected. “With this receiver’s [portal] coming out, everyone sees that this is proof. These guys were stealing the money.”
The court-appointed receiver, attorney David Castleman, is tasked with recovering and distributing funds to investors caught up in the fraudulent scheme that affected at least 25,000 people, mostly Haitians, and amassed nearly $250 million. He oversees about $153.7 million, recovered from EminiFX and its CEO Eddy Alexandre since the latter’s arrest in May 2022 and subsequent conviction.
People deposited the funds through banks, digital currencies such as Bitcoin and cash into an array of accounts, all while EminiFX failed to follow good accounting practices. As a result, Castleman had to reconstruct a ledger after Alexandre’s arrest and came up with nearly 100,000 transactions. That’s why he launched the EminiFX user portal to capture information such as the details described in Pétion’s scenario. Everyone has until Dec. 18 to take action.
“If the user has a cash transaction that’s not there, especially if it was a cash transaction, then the likely reason for that is we don’t have internal records that match the transactions for that user,” Castleman told The Haitian Times Wednesday afternoon. “So what they need to do is tell us they made a cash transaction and hand in as much details and documentation around that as possible.
“I encourage all users, if they see that a transaction is missing, not to panic,” added Castleman, a member of the firm Otterbourg P.C. “Everyone can add those transactions to the portal, and we’ll investigate them.”
‘We all got taken’
The portal – a site managed by Stretto, the claims agents providing administrative support to the receiver – has features for users to confirm, dispute or add transactions. People can also upload documents and provide detailed descriptions that can serve as proof of the monies they deposited directly or gave others to submit into the EminiFX system on their behalf.
Wednesday, when Pétion checked the portal, he saw two transactions listed — one for $1,000 and another for $700. He immediately clicked the “Dispute” option. Then, Pétion uploaded a TD Bank deposit slip for $15,000 to show the funds used for Bitcoin transactions in that amount. The slip included handwritten notes to show the funds were deposited on behalf of two other people – one for $10,000 and another for $5,000.
Pétion said he also did not see indications of the $41,500 in cash he gave to the pastor of his church – John Edvard Maisonneuve, the former leader of the Shekinah Seventh-day Adventist Church in Allentown, Pa. At the time, the EminiFX app showed his contribution in that amount on its dashboard.
Maisonneuve did not immediately return a call and text message seeking comment for this story.
Meanwhile, scores of investors who had been waiting for their money back began calling around. Pétion said he received one call from an acquaintance who was angry with him for persuading her to invest. He said he had to explain to her that he too was duped. Now, he told her, everyone must follow the process to explain what they contributed to EminiFX, when, how or through whom.
“It’s everybody who got pulled into it,” Pétion said he told the woman. “We all got taken.”
Investors who need help in Creole may call 855-228-3721, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and ask for a Creole speaker.