Crypto Fund Fraudster Gets Nine Years in $249 Million Scheme

The Long Island, New York, man who admitted swindling hundreds of millions of dollars from investors through his EminiFX cryptocurrency and foreign-exchange platform was sentenced to nine years in prison.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Jul 19 2023, 11:29 IST
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This malicious Firefox add-on stole thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency
crypto
1/6 A particular malicious add-on for Firefox, that goes by the name Safepal Wallet, has managed to scam users by stealing money from them and managed to live on the Mozilla add-ons store for seven months before getting detected and removed. (Pixabay)
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2/6 Safepal is essentially a cryptocurrency wallet application that is capable of holding more than 10,000 types of assets, including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc. However, Safepal is an official smartphone app that is available for Apple and Android both. There are no known “authentic” Safepal browser extensions. (BleepingComputer)
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3/6 According to a post shared by a user who goes by the name Cali on the Mozilla Support forum, within a few hours of installing and logging in to the Safepal Wallet extension with their real Safepal credentials, they saw their wallet balance drop to $0 from $4,000.  (Mozilla Support Forum )
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4/6 While investigating Safepal Wallet, BleepingComputer came across the phishing domain used by the add-on and this webpage was also listed as the "support site" link on the fake add-on's home page: https://safeuslife.com/tool/. WHOIS records indicate the this phishing site was registered in January this year via Namecheap. And BleepingComputer reported that at the time of them filing this report, the webpage is still live and it instructs people to key in their "12-word Backup Phrase in the correct order to pair your SafePal Wallet". (BleepingComputer )
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5/6 Once the recovery phrase is entered and the form is submitted, the page refreshes without any noticeable response and the recovery phrase is sent to the attacker. A stolen recovery phrase can give attackers control over your wallet along with the ability to access and transfer funds. (Pixabay)
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6/6 Five days after Cali publicly reported the incident, a Mozilla spokesperson responded to say that they were investigating the issue and the page for Safepal Wallet has since been removed by Mozilla. The Mozilla add-ons store now has one-star reviews posted by some users that are warning others to not download “Safepal Wallet”. (BleepingComputer )
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“This was a calculated, planned and ongoing fraud,” Cronan said. “And the reach of the fraud was vast.” (REUTERS)

The Long Island, New York, man who admitted swindling hundreds of millions of dollars from investors through his EminiFX cryptocurrency and foreign-exchange platform was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Eddy Alexandre, who lives in Valley Stream, was sentenced Tuesday by US District Judge John Cronan in Manhattan. Alexandre pleaded guilty in February to commodities fraud and agreed to forfeit $248.8 million he earned illegally through his Ponzi scheme targeting mostly investors in the Haitian-American community in New York.

“This was a calculated, planned and ongoing fraud,” Cronan said. “And the reach of the fraud was vast.”

The scheme played out over just eight months, from September 2021 until May 2022. Alexandre, a native of Haiti, promised investors returns of 5% or more each week on their investments. The fraud grew quickly to 25,000 victims, with Alexandre running his EminiFX Inc. as a multilevel marketing scam, which rewarded existing investors for bringing in new investors.

Prosecutors said Alexandre held a position of trust in his church and in his community, which he exploited to take money from poor and hard-working victims.

Community Support

Since his arrest, Alexandre has received support from the Haitian-American community, with many showing up to his court appearances to protest the charges.

During Tuesday's sentencing, dozens of supporters filled Cronan's courtroom and an overflow courtroom. Most wore identical lime green t-shirts printed with his picture, the EminiFX logo and the words “Together We Rise,” “Break the Chains” and “Justice for All.”

Two victims addressed the court, telling of losing the money with Alexandre and advocating for a stiff sentence.

“Do you have a heart, Mr. Alexandre?” asked Phucien Baptiste, a nurse who said he'd lost $25,000 he'd been saving for a down payment on a house.

A few supporters praised Alexandre for giving them hope.

Alexandre lost $6 million trading on the funds he got from investors and sent more than $14 million to his personal bank account — using $155,000 to buy a BMW and another portion for $13,000 in car payments to Mercedes Benz, the government said.

Prosecutors had asked Cronan to sentence Alexander to 10 years, the maximum available under his guilty plea deal with the government. Alexandre asked for leniency without specifying a particular sentence.

When Cronan imposed the nine-year sentence, his supporters looked glum, many lowering their heads. One woman used an extra t-shirt to dab at a tear.

The case is US v. Alexandre, 22-cr-326, US District Court, Southern District of New York.

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First Published Date: 19 Jul, 11:28 IST
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