Faithfully, at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, Frantz Victorin said he received at least 5% return from EminiFX, an online investment platform that said people could get rich by investing in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange markets, also known as forex.
“Everyone has been paid,” Victorin said. “They got their profit in their e-wallet.”
Alexandre, who is also the founder, chairman and sole owner of EminiFX, has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme, according to a complaint filed in the Southern District of New York. The profits people believe they were making were not real, according to the complaint.
But to this community of family, friends, and church members, Alexander was like a shepherd leading a flock to what they hoped would be a life-changing fortune.
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The weekly returns were so large and consistent, a low of 5% and sometimes close to 10%, that Victorin predicted he would become a millionaire after just under a year of investing with EminiFX.
“I took out at least four loans from different banks to make sure the dream he was talking about, as a family, we were ready,” Victorin said.
He still trusts Alexander.
“We believe in this guy,” Victorin said. “We believe in our CEO. He’s a good guy, a great guy. And we’ve never met someone like that, very down to earth, very respectful, transparent with a lot of charisma.”
Like so many other investors, Victorin, who lives in Massachusetts, attended Zoom meetings Thursday night, where he said Alexander was talking about being part of a system where people could make their money work for them instead of to work for money.
“EminiFX is your safe path to financial freedom,” the company’s website promises. It was an attractive pitch that brought in millions of dollars for thousands of investors in the United States and abroad.
The FBI says the alleged proprietary trading platform used by EminiFX was a fraud and that Alexander operated a Ponzi-like cryptocurrency and foreign exchange scheme that raised more than $59 million from September 2021 until until he was arrested by the FBI in May.
The Ministry of Justice the complaint alleges the platform only invested a relatively small percentage of investors’ funds and diverted around $14.7 million to his personal bank account.
“Each week, the EminiFX website falsely represented to investors that they had earned at least 5% on their investment, which they could withdraw or reinvest,” the federal complaint said. “Alexander said that if an investor invested $100,000, he would be a millionaire within two to three years.”
A separate Commodity Futures Trading Commission complaint alleges that only around $9 million of the $59 million raised from investors appears to have been sent to a futures merchant for trading. The complaint alleges that Alexander’s transactions at an online brokerage resulted in losses of more than $6 million.
Alexandre was charged with commodity fraud and wire fraud. Emil Bove, lawyer for Alexander, did not respond to requests for comment. Alexander has pleaded not guilty, according to the Justice Department.
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It appears that there were at least 62,000 active EminiFX user accounts, according to a preliminary status report from David Castleman, who has been appointed as temporary receiver for EminiFX.
Despite the accusations, Alexander’s investor support is extraordinary. Investors launched a Petition change.org the defendant. So far, over 11,000 people have signed the petition and many have offered prayers for Alexander.
“I will continue to pray for him, with God by his side, he will emerge victorious from this setup,” one person wrote. Many investors wrote that the government targeted Alexander because he was black and an immigrant.
“I believe the government is wrong,” one signer said. “They don’t like to see black people doing nothing for themselves.” Another wrote: “I signed this petition because the CEO is innocent, this is pure racism.”
Rechanka Doristil posted a Youtube video praying on behalf of Alexander and other investors. “Every week I used to find the 5% he promised or more,” she wrote in an email to The Washington Post. “He’s not a crook for sure.”
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Castleman said in his report that more than $62 million was frozen in a number of accounts in the names of EminiFX and Alexander located at multiple banks, brokerages, and cryptocurrency exchanges.
Although its investigation is still in its early stages, Castleman said it “has not yet identified any EminiFX account containing income from an underlying trading operation or any legitimate trading activity. requiring the continued use of company premises or employees”.
Those who side with Alexander point to the $62 million the receiver located as proof that EminiFX was not a scam. But in a Ponzi scheme, especially if it’s relatively new, the promoters may initially deliver the promised returns.
Even if there is little or no legitimate business or investment income, as long as most people do not withdraw money, it is possible to make payments from investors’ funds, not returns on investments.
Even after explaining this to some EminiFX investors, they remained confident that Alexander would be cleared of all charges.
I believe they believe. They cling to their trust in Alexander because the alternative, that they could have been duped, is unthinkable.
“Everything we were promised, we got,” said Markens Nicolas, who helped start the change.org petition. “I wonder if the charges are real.”