by: Genevieve Jean Baptiste
With the advance of blockchain technology and digital currency, many fraudsters have found convincing ways to swindle people, especially those who know little about cryptocurrency.
Over the past five years, two Ponzi schemes developed by Haitian Americans have cost the Haitian diaspora over a billion dollars. Eminifx was the brainchild of Eddy Alexandre, a Seventh-Day Adventist Deacon from Queens, New York. He convinced the Seventh Day Adventist Church leaders to participate in the Ponzi scheme in exchange for a percentage of money raised. Leaders of the General Conference Corporation of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (GCC), members of several state conferences including the Florida Conference, the Northeastern Conference, the Allegheny East Conference and their pastors (John E Maisonneuve, Williams Jean Charles, Phillip Montpremier, Frantz D’Haiti, Paul Donald, Emile Duvivier, Smith Olivier and Kelby Hypolite) joined the scheme that defrauded almost a hundred thousand parishioners of over 500 million dollars.
Make no mistake, Alexandre’s fraud could not have been possible without the express or tacit assistance of the GCC. As the Adventist pastors flooded social media promoting the fraud, they used scare tactics to coerce their parishioners to invest more and more money and stay invested, all while taking their own supposed profits every Friday. That is until a Good Samaritan placed a call to FBI agents who swiftly arrested Alexandre and shut down EminiFX. After Alexandre’s arrest, the Federal Trade Commission filed a civil lawsuit against him and EminiFX, seizing assets totaling roughly 160 million dollars. A receiver, David Castleman of the law firm of Otterbourg P.C., was then appointed to collect and distribute these assets to investors. As Alexandre was getting ready to begin his nine-year federal prison sentence in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for fraud, another sham company was about to be revealed and unraveled: NovaTechFX.
NovaTechFX was founded in January 2019 by Cynthia Petion, self-titled “Reverend CEO,” and her husband Alexandre Petion. NovaTechFX is registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. From its founding, NovaTechFX has collected money from investors globally under false pretenses. Two years later, several countries, including Russia and Canada issued fraud alerts calling out NovaTechFX as a Ponzi scheme. Despite the fraud alerts, the Petions continued to solicit investors. As a result of the fraud alerts many would be investors became concerned, and NovaTechFX’s earnings plummeted to about 10% of its monthly average balances in 2022.
For any Ponzi scheme to survive, the monthly revenue must be double the size of the money it holds. These fraudsters use money from new investors to pay existing investors their promised returns. Once the cash dwindles, the swindlers face calamity: they would no longer be able to pay investors.
In the case of NovaTechFX, the Petions promised 3% weekly returns, and for the better part of two years, many were getting those returns. However, people panicked once states like Wisconsin, California, and Washington began to fine the Petions for selling securities without a license. There was a run on NovaTechFX by people looking to withdraw their investment dollars.
The company preyed on people who knew very little about investment. They targeted church members and, through ambassadors such as Jean-Martin Zizi, Frantz Ciceron, Bob St. Louis, John Garofano, and others, encouraged people to invest in return for a percentage of NovaTechFX’s profits. These ambassadors were located worldwide, particularly in New York State and Florida, where many Haitian immigrants reside. Thousands of people gave their hard-earned money to NovaTechFX – thinking it was a legitimate investment. By all estimations, NovaTechFX raised close to 2 billion dollars in connection with its Ponzi scheme.
Since Novatech’s downfall in 2023, the Petions have sold their home in West Palm Beach, Florida, and gone into hiding. No one seems to know where they are. Running rumors place them in Dubai, Panama, or even Venezuela. To date, there is no credible information regarding their whereabouts. The FBI and State of New York Attorney General Letitia James are investigating the fraud, but it might be many years before the Petions are brought to justice. Meanwhile, a group of investors in New York City has retained the Florida law firm of Morris Legal, LLC to file a class action lawsuit against NovatechFX and its CEO, Cynthia Petion, Eddy Petion, and other co-conspirators such as Jean Martin Zizi, Frantz Ciceron,, Bob St. Louis, and John Garofano.
If you are an investor of either Eminifx or NovatechFX, call the Law firm of Morris Legal at 305-444-3437 to be part of the class action lawsuit.