“Everyone gets paid,” said Victorin. “They make a profit on their e-wallet.”
Alexandre, who is also the founder, president and sole owner of EminiFX, was charged in connection with running a Ponzi scheme, according to a report. complaint filed in the Southern District of New York. The profits people believe they make are not real, the complaint says.
But to this community of family, friends, and fellow church members, Alexandre is like a shepherd leading the flock toward what they hope will be life-changing fortune.
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The weekly returns are so large and consistent, at least 5 percent and sometimes almost 10 percent, that Victorin projects he will become a millionaire after less than a year investing with EminiFX.
“I took at least four loans from different banks to make sure the dream he spoke of, as a family, we are ready,” Victorin said.
He still has faith in Alexandre.
“We believe in this man,” said Victorin. “We believe in our CEO. He’s a good man, a great man. And we never met someone like that, very humble, very respectful, transparent with a lot of charisma.”
Like many other investors, Victorin, who lives in Massachusetts, attended a Zoom meeting Thursday night, where he said Alexandre talked about being part of a system where people can make their money work for them instead of them working for money.
“EminiFX is your surefire path to financial freedom,” promises the company’s website. It was an attractive offer that brought in millions of dollars from thousands of investors in the United States and abroad.
The FBI says the proprietary trading platform EminiFX claims to use is a scam and that Alexandre operated cryptocurrency and foreign exchange Ponzi-like schemes that raised more than $59 million from September 2021 until he was detained by the FBI in May.
Department of Justice complaint accusing the platform only invested a relatively small percentage of investor funds and misdirected about $14.7 million into his personal bank account.
“Every week the EminiFX website falsely declares to investors that they have earned at least 5 percent of their investment, which they can withdraw or reinvest,” the federal complaint said. “Alexandre states that if an investor invests $100,000, they will be millionaires in two to three years.”
A separate complaint by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission states that only about $9 million of the $59 million collected from investors appears to have been sent to commissioners’ futures traders for trading purposes. The complaint alleges that trading by Alexandre at an online brokerage resulted in a loss of more than $6 million.
Alexandre has been charged with commodity fraud and wire fraud offenses. Emil Bove, a lawyer for Alexandre, did not respond to requests for comment. Alexandre entered a not guilty plea, according to the Justice Department.
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There appear to be at least 62,000 active EminiFX user accounts, according to a preliminary status report by David Castleman, who has been appointed as an interim beneficiary of EminiFX.
Despite the allegations, investor support for Alexandre has been extraordinary. Investors have started change.org petition defend him. More than 11,000 people have so far signed the petition with many offering prayers for Alexandre.
“I will continue to pray for him, with God by his side, he will come out victorious in this arrangement,” one person wrote. Many investors wrote that the government targeted Alexandre because he was black and an immigrant.
“I believe the government is wrong,” said one signatory. “They don’t like seeing black people do nothing for themselves.” Another wrote, “I am signing this petition because the CEO is innocent, this is pure racism.”
Rechanka Doristil posted a Youtube Videos praying on behalf of Alexandre and other investors. “Every week I used to find the 5 percent he promised or more,” he wrote in an email to The Washington Post. “He’s definitely not a swindler.”
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Castleman said in its report that more than $62 million was frozen in accounts on behalf of EminiFX and Alexandre located at several banks, brokerages and cryptocurrency exchanges.
Although his investigation is still in its very early stages, Castleman said he “has not identified any EminiFX accounts that contain income from underlying business operations or any legitimate business activity that requires continued use of the premises or employees.”
Those who support Alexandre point to the $62 million that recipients have found as proof that EminiFX is not a scam. But in Ponzi schemes, especially relatively new ones, the promoter can deliver the promised returns, initially.
Even if there is little or no legitimate business or investment income, as long as most people don’t cash it in, it is possible to make payments from investor funds, not a return on any investment.
Even after explaining this to several EminiFX investors, they remain steadfast in their belief that Alexandre will be acquitted of all charges.
I believe that they believe. They clung to their belief in Alexandre because the alternative, that they might have been duped, was unthinkable.
“Everything that was promised to us, we got it,” said Markens Nicolas, who helped start the change.org petition. “I wonder if the accusations are real.”