EminiFX CEO Eddy Alexandre is due to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons on Friday, August 18. Here’s a look at the scheme that is sending him to prison for nine years.
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 — In late August, Eddy Alexandre unceremoniously turned himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin a nine-year sentence after being convicted of defrauding at least 25,000 people in a Ponzi scheme that amassed nearly $250 million. Using information taken from court documents and interviews with investors, The Haitian Times has compiled a visual representation to illustrate how the fraud spread worldwide so quickly, who else is allegedly involved, how it came to an end and where is the money.
- Prior to being arrested in May 2022, Alexandre was known around Haitian church community circles as a faith leader. A Seventh-day Adventist Church chaplain, he lived in Valley Stream, New York, with his wife and three boys. He worked a day job at HBO as a information security senior architect. He pursued a master’s degree at Phoenix University, but did not graduate.
- In his home life, court records show, Alexandre had some financial troubles. In July 2017, he filed for bankruptcy in Nassau County debts totaling between $500,000 and $1 million. In February 2019, he filed for bankruptcy a second time, again with liabilities between $500,000 and $1 million. He was told to undergo financial education as part of the second bankruptcy case resolution.
- When the pandemic hit in 2020, Alexandre, in his role as chaplain at Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist church in Queens, delivered essentials to those who were homebound. His visibility landed him on the popular TV show when he got Covid-19.
EminiFX is born
- In 2021, Alexandre began operating the EminiFX platform. Alexandre showed off “millionaires” his platform allegedly produced to recruit new members. To advance the ruse, he held weekly virtual and in-person investor meetings, rented a swanky midtown Manhattan, hired 50 people whose qualifications prosecutors said were dubious, made the rounds on YouTube and church streams, held galas and car giveaways and other means to keep us appearances of wealth.
- Alexandre relied on a robust network of associates and “ambassadors” to recruit people, many of them fellow members of Seventh-day Adventist churches all over the U.S. Investors were promised they could earn money because their money would be invested using his special “robo-assisted advisor” (RA3) to trade cryptocurrency and foreign exchange instruments.
- To earn even more, investors who signed up for the multi-tiered affiliate program could recruit others to join EminiFX. Program incentives included a mix of weekly, monthly, quarterly bonuses and profit sharing such as taking a percentage of a recruit’s investment. Alexandre told members he guaranteed investments of 5% and 9.99% each week. He advised them not to withdraw, but to “reinvest” and enjoy the fruits of compound interest: millionaire status.
Word spreads across the globe
- Ambassadors recruit members from churches and their communities, reaching people across the United States, Canada, France, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Chile and Brazil. At least 60 churches in the Seventh-day Adventist organization are now accused of turning a blind eye to the fraud perpetrated around their houses of worship.
- To convince people that his investments bore fruit, Alexandre created a program that showed investments going up, when in reality they were not. Prosecutors said the profits were fictitious. To not be caught in that lie, when some investors asked for withdrawals from their healthy accounts, Alexandre used the money new investors put in to pay them.
- Within months, EminiFX amassed tens of thousands of investors who gave his company as much as $500 million, according to the civil suit against the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Alexandre’s entourage. Some investors were told to bring in money in cash, via Zelle or CashApp, direct deposit to accounts EminiFX had in Bank of America and TD Bank.
- Some say congregants they even brought the funds directly to the homes of ambassadors, some of whom used strong-arm tactics and Bible quotations in their pitches. At least one congregant said someone came to her house with a computer to create an account for her and all she had to do was initial the documents.
- As the millions poured in, Alexandre tried to invest in items other than cryptocurrencies and FX instruments. He expanded into real estate, using investor funds to buy nearly 50 foreclosed properties. He also bought himself a $4.8 million property in Manhasset, a tony town on Long Island’s tony north shore.
- Meanwhile, banks started getting suspicious of the millions going in and out of Alexandre and EminiFX accounts. Some investors also began to become impatient about not being able to withdraw the returns they saw in their accounts.
- To get around the banks, Alexandre told investors to submit their funds via digital processors, such as CashApp, and to buy Bitcoin, the digital currency. Alexandre and his team invoked rules about not being allowed to withdraw for the first six months or being told to do it via digital transactions.
- In March 2022, the FBI began investigating after Bank of America reported him. Alexandre then told investors to submit their funds by buying Bitcoin (BTC) and transferring the BTC to Alexandre’s digital wallets.
- Around this time, some said, people who tried to withdraw funds from their accounts began running into difficulties because cashing out involved a multi-step process and various payment processors. In a nutshell, the BTC had to be converted to US dollars, which were then made available through CashApp usually, then transferred from CashApp to a regular bank account in USD. The value of the funds also became reliant on the trading value of BTC, making the investment more volatile.
Arrest and prosecution
- On May 12, 2022, federal investigators raided the EminiFX offices in Midtown and arrested Alexandre at his home at dawn. The funds under his and EminiFX names were placed into a receivership. The federal criminal complaint details the origins and allegations investigators.
- Thousands of members then launched a change.org petition online asking for his release, saying he was being persecuted for showing Haitians how to become wealthy in America.
- In February 2023, however, Alexandre pled guilty to fraud and agreed to forfeit $248 million to the U.S. government as part of a plea to avoid trial.
- By Spring 2023, some investors who had been questioning the narratives Alexandre and his entourage shared with them sought to punish him and his team. They filed a civil suit against the Seventh-day Adventist church and some of Alexandre’s family, friends and church community leaders.
- In July 2023, Alexandre received a sentence of 9 years imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release for his crime. He turned himself in to a low security prison in Pennsylvania in late August.
- In September 2023, the receivership – led by attorney David Castleman – launched a user portal to identify users who may be due money back. Receiver David Castleman set a Dec. 18 deadline to log onto the site to file a claim. Creole speakers can also call the receivership’s hotline – 855-228-3721 – from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.