Marguerite Jean, Alleged Ponzi Schemer, Fleeced Her Own Pastor Out of $70,000

Categories: Crime
jeanponzischem.jpg
Marguerite Martial Jean, accused of running a $3.4 million Ponzi scheme that targeted her fellow Seventh Day Adventists
Seventh Day Adventist? More like Seventh Day A-hole.

According to investigators, Marguerite Martial Jean ran a $3.4 million Ponzi scheme targeting nearly 300 of her fellow Haitian-Americans. As if that wasn't cynical enough, her former pastor says Jean scammed at least 25 fellow members of the Eden Seventh Day Adventist Church on N. Miami Ave. and 78th St. -- all while overseeing Bible study at the church.

"She was a church officer!" says retired minister Michel Lamartine Porcena, who invested over $200,000 of his own money into Jean's bogus business. "As her pastor, I never thought that this person, a church member, wasn't telling the truth."

Porcena says Jean first contacted his wife with a "business offer" back in 2007 while he was on vacation in Georgia. Jean claimed to have found a cheap shipment of rice that she could re-sell to foreign buyers for a nifty 22 percent profit, if Porcena put up some cash.

Trusting his fellow Seventh Day Adventist, he gave Jean $7,000.

"She promised us $1,600 (in interest payments)," Porcena says. "And within a few days, we got it."

Porcena, like two dozen other members of his own church, was intrigued by the promise of easy money. He coughed up another $1,000 for Jean's business, believing that she had a warehouse full of rice somewhere. Again, Jean paid as promised.

"She was always on the phone with supposed clients," Porcena recalls. "She would tell them, 'I can't send you so much (rice) right now," to prove that the business was real. But I found later that there was no one on the phone, that she had no business."

At first, the pastor was fooled. He even took out a $75,000 loan on his house in order to invest in Jean and her husband Gary's businesses: MMJ Warehouse and VLM Enterprise, LLC. Then the payments dried up and Jean started making excuses, Porcena says. By mid 2009, he knew he was being bilked.

Ultimately, the pastor lost a third of his $203,270 investment in the Ponzi scheme. He also lost a bit of his faith in his flock.

"These were people that I trusted," Porcena says of Jean and her husband. "I never thought they could do something like this. But they did."

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40 comments
Paulette
Paulette

Everyone has something negative to say.... I gave Marguerite $5000.00 and got my money back plus interest. I'm pretty sure she did not want to end up in jail or be in a $3.4 Million debt. Things happen maybe she fell behind on business or got caught up on bills. That is a risk take  you when your investing. For example people invest in the stock market and if it crash you lose all, if it goes up you benefit. If you guys had any faith in God you would not wish for her to rote in jail.

Jim
Jim

One thing is for certain.  Just because you are a church member doesn't make you a good business person.  The scheme preys upon those who believe there is some secret deal going on and only the insiders get these enormous profits.  It is only the insiders who get the "great deals." The old phrase "there is a sucker born every minute" applies here.  When I was around 25 years old, it was a former pastor who was selling these type of deals.  His safest deal was selling commodities.  And most people lose their money in those.  Everybody I know lost their money.  The main thing he was selling was arbitrage, the buying and selling of currencies.  Of course they claimed they had huge losses in the market and all the money was gone.  Most likely they kept the money and never invested it in anything, much like the woman in this story. These Ponzi Schemes get built upon trust.  A skeptic would have asked a few questions. Where is the warehouse? Where is the rice? Who is buying it? Show me some ledgers and bank deposits. These questions were never asked.

Imwhatuwantnlife
Imwhatuwantnlife

Its amazing how many people want to see this woman dead and want her husband brought to justice. Why would these CHURCH MEMBERS invest all this money into a woman and not into their church? I am almost certain that at least half of the so called INVESTORS knew what exactly was going on.They didn't care what she was doing as long as they got interest on their money back.The only reason why its an issue is because someone didnt get paid fast enough smh. Knowing Haitians....more than half of them probably lying about giving her money so they can be in the news and gets some sympathy. Its stated that she has two kids...why would you church going people want this woman to be taken away from her kids? I thought God was the only one that can judge???? As for her husband,it might be a possibility that he knew nothing of the scam and thought it was a legit business or he could have been the ring leader but if the FEDS only arrested her than more than likely he was innocent.What if your wife,husband,son,daughter gets arrested for selling drugs does that mean you should get arrested too...does that mean you were their supplier? Dont Judge but forgive a let God deal with it. My prayers goes out to Marguerite and the alleged victims

Mwendi
Mwendi

In reply to 20032002 you need to shit the hell up when you do not have nothing to say, you talk like you are a racistyou know not only Haitian and Nigerian that scam people . you need to close your big much, you are so selfish......./

LAMOU
LAMOU

TO PASTEUR:PORCENA.. OU PA PANSE OU GENYEN ASE FIDEL NAN LEGLISE LA KI GRANGOU, KI PAGEN KAY, OSWA KI PAP TRAVAY MON PAS.. TI KOB SA TE KAB FE YO BIEN NAN TAN DURE SA.. OU PITO AL GASPIYE'L NAN BOUDA MAGERITE POU TE KAPAB FE BOUDA'L PI GROS, ET FIDEL YO MEM AP MOURI GRANGOU NAN LEGLISE LA.. AHH MONCHER, JEZU GEN POU'L VINI VRAI.. BONDYE BA OU GADYEN MOUTON YO. MEN WAP FE GRO JEUX SE RICH OU TE DEYEIR RICH. EPA OU RICH COUNYE'YA.. SI SE MWEN MEM KI TE MANDE'W PRETE YOUN TI LARGEN, OU TAP DIM OU PA GENYEN... MEN BAGAY YOU WI!!!!!!!!.... NA PRAN LESON NOU..

MONISE
MONISE

first of all for you guys who have invest your money in margueritte... you deserve what you got. how can you be so stupid to trust on someone and give all your money into a business you dont even know. how dumb can you be. all i can say about this is HA HA HA you got what you deserve. its funny how even in the 21st century they are still a bunch of idiots left in this world that the rest of us can laugh about.you all are getting mad at her when she's done nothing wrong really.look at this way she did you guys a favor because you had money to waste, and she had better things to do with your money. most of you are just jealous cause ya couldn't accomplished what she has done.. to margueritte i hope her trails are over soon so that she can go home and continue living her life that you guys are trying to deprive her of. good luck girl!!!!! hope you get out real soon and let's pray that those people remains idiots for your good.. even if it were my money you took girl .. give you mad Props... Hey well for the rest of ya Ladidatidooo

niceday2pray
niceday2pray

marguerite, like tonton bicha would say voowloow you should be a shamed girl. si mwen te manman-w tifi mwen tap bat toute nannan-ou. mwen tap fais ou rekonet George ak tout georgina. girl you stoop yourself to low... you had nothing better to do....didn't you think you were going to get caught. i pity you fool....foolish made lesson learned

Corian
Corian

Its funny how many of you whos replying are hiding your real alias, espcially the ones who are supposably "church going ppl". Keep using the "f" bombs ect, you guys are just a bunch of scary fakes who claim Jesus.

James
James

Hey, I guess I was the lucky one because I gave her some money and after 3 weeks I got my benefits and my money back because I had a phone call from my friend that she is a bad person.

Tonette
Tonette

In the 1970s it was called the "Circle of Gold." 1980s - the "Triangle of Life." 1990s - automobile investments (buy low, sell high). 2000s - Florida real estate scam. 2010s - RICE! It's not just in the Adventist church; it's not just Haitians. These ponzi schemes have been going on for years and all kinds of people from every denomination and every race have been falling for them. They are all 100% illegal and people know it, which is why there is never a paper trail. It is all based on greed - the "love" of money. No one invested with Marguerite in ordr to help the poor and hungry to eat more rice. NOT! It was pure unadulterated greed. I hope that this experience makes them not only wiser, but causes them to search their souls and see where money became a god to them. Hopefully, this experience will teach them something and, hopefully, they will learn the lesson. If not, they will fall for it again.

hed
hed

It's a shame Marguerite and Gary. Why Gary Marguerite husban has not being arrested. Both of them should be brought to justice.

Church, member.

Jabar20032002
Jabar20032002

Typical Haitian crook. that's why i don't trust any of them or people from Nigeria. They're always up to some scam.

Church member
Church member

This lady use to sing for God like it was nothing. We would have never known that a fellow church member would do such a thing. This incident just proves that man put their faith in man and not in God! This will just be a lesson for them to learn as they get in their knees and ask God to forgive them for their sins. As far as Marguerite, She is already paying the ultimate price by being caught and being put into jail. Lesson to learn. every sin isn't left unpunished. You do a crime one day you will be put to shame in the eyes of God and man. to Conclude, I hope the Eden members learned their lesson and with all that money. They could have given to rebuild the church but they gave thousands of dollars for rice.

faith
faith

well easy money always come with a price.....

Tonette
Tonette

How sad that people, in their quest to get rich quick, would invest so much of their hard earned God-given money in a scheme that they had not even bothered to investigate.

Marguerite was wrong. The pastor and the members that invested were dead wrong. This is the price you pay when you believe that you can get something for nothing. 22% return? In 2007, 2008, 2009??? Unless you were purchasing oil directly from Venezuela or the Middle East, there is no such return.

The members should have invested that money in purchasing Christian books and DVDs to be given out to the community to win souls for the Lord. Instead, they were trying to lay up for themselves treasures on earth. Poof! It's gone!

Concern Citizen
Concern Citizen

When this Haitian Community will learned when is too good to be true is a Ponzi situation.

Sorel
Sorel

Well, I want to say they have to learn a lesson because you don't just gave people money like that in the first place. Also a big investment like this requires a license and a location. I wish Past. Michel L. Porcena good luck and he has to pray for her fellow member.

church member
church member

Whoa! This discussion is too heated! In response to because I said so! you talk alot of jazz and I will not pay your ignorant behind any mine! Coming on this blog and cursing like a fool! MARGUERITE HUSBAND SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE BECAUSE HE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING OK!

queen
queen

who are u? You should say who you are! the bible says you have someone in your heart. You should confront them and tell them how you feel! Why dont you call pastor Porcena and tell him how you will feel! what you are saying is very true! There are people at Eden who are dying of hungry and dont any have clothes to wear!

Polito1001
Polito1001

Att: nicedaytopray

I cannot beleive in a moment like this one would be trash talking like that as if ....Anyway you could not do any better you did your best,smarty...Have you walked on water yet?

Polito1001
Polito1001

I feel sorry for all this,but to all of you ,wether you lost money or not,the lesson to learn is that as a christian,you haven't lost any at all,because you are stil alive and hoping.Also,try not ,in your christian life,to leave access to the enemy,the devil so he can get in and destroy destroy and destroy.You may need to get on your knees,ask God to help you not to give up on the faith and also for Marguerite to realize how deep she was sinking ,to repent from her ....... and live again for God so she can see the kingdom of God,obviously she will pay for what she has done.Jesus is soon to come lets focus on His return and our salvation.May the Lord bless you all

nearbutnotfar
nearbutnotfar

oh shut up corian. i bet you that this margaret chic is your family member. you are wrong for that. God doesnt like no ugly ok. whether or not that this person is your family you have to stand for the truth always. what she did to her people was wrong. if you so called yourself a child of good you should not steal from your neighbor. money doesn't grow on trees corian. these are hard working individual who as put their hard earn trust in her with the little that they had hoping that she will deliver. this is such a shame that a person like her grown in the church, family oriented, and well known in church can commit such scheme to her own people. this goes to show you that we are living in the end of times. now, what bothers me is this how does she feel right now being caught? was this all really necessary to leave such a bad reputation on your family like this? how will she be able to live with herself knowing that she left her mom, dad, sister in other close net family in her own turmoil,deciet, and shame. I hope that while she is sitting in this jail cell ton ight that she built some self actualization and ask herself these question. Then i hope that she will knelt down and pray confess to our merciful God and ask for forgiveness. i wish her and her family all the best because we are near the end of days....God is coming soon people.

BECUZ I SAID SO
BECUZ I SAID SO

@ hed since u call urself a church member..wat makes feel dat her husband needs 2 b arrested? betta yet fukk ur feelings...u hve NO RIGHT 2 say dat ..if u gonna b mad & hve something 2 say....U BETTA B A VICTIM! cuz it sounds 2 me like ur one of those sideline haters...! SIT DWN...NEXT!

violin9
violin9

In reply to Becuz I said so. I agree with you, they were all in on it. The money was good while it was flowing. Meanwhile, I am sure there are some underprivileged members of the church such as widows, single mothers and elderly, who these big christian investors wouldn't give a bag of rice to for free. By the way my christian investors, as Christians the Holy Spirit speaks to you, I guess you chose not to listen! When it comes to gaining riches on this earth it's all about self. If you would have feed the poor, your investment would have multiplied.

Roodalber
Roodalber

y'all members' eden r stupid. At the beginning, it waz gud money, y'all were happy now u r talking shit n u wanna involve her husband in dat fucking shit. he aint nuthing to do wit dat shit

Vavafree
Vavafree

The ponzi scam didn't start at Eden. It started in chekinah where Marguerite was a member. Few people at Eden knew about it. There are many churches involved, SDA , baptist, catholic and so forth. There are more people involved than the numbers stated in the news. Marguerite has to pay for her crime, many people( widow, senior citizen etc) went to foreclosure because of her. I am waiting to see the husband get arrested too.

Jeloi7023
Jeloi7023

Dear TonetteI have found your critics a little bit harsh on Marguerite's victims. As a Christian, I think you ought to pray God to heal their psychological wounds, and to open their minds so they can understand humankind. I am quite sure you had also lost something through Enron, which you had not used to gain souls for Jesus. However, if you did not lose any, let the glory be to God, not to you.Respectfully yours

SPIERRE16
SPIERRE16

WHO EVER USE MY NAME TO GIVE OPINION WILL CONSIDER A FRAUD LIKE MARGUERITE DOES. MARGUERITE SHOULD STAY FOR LIFE IN JAIL OR PRISON.

Niceday2pray
Niceday2pray

well Polito honey, i have not walk on water but i am working on it.. Polito come on have a sense of humor! we can laugh this, what's done is done. can't really do anything about it.. but Polito seriously, if margerite had not done that already, i would have done it for her.. shoot! hnm freeeeee money.. do you see what i see polito FREE MONEY.. PLUS that's what happens to folks who are MONEY HUNGRYYYYYYYYY...... okay Polito HA HA HA .. sad but true..1 time for Magerite! hiphip hooray!

yayab
yayab

YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF MARGUERITE..... YOU USED TO BE ACTING LIKE ALL TWELLITITI IN THE CHURCH LIKE YOU WERE ALL THAT.PEOPLE COULDNT APPROACH YOU ANY KIND OF WAYS. NOW WE SEE YOU WERE A FAKE.... HOPE A LESSON LEARNED THAT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE,AND WE ALL DESERVE RESPECT.

Yayananpotoprens
Yayananpotoprens

I am an investor who knew about it at the last minute. When I asked her about the risk she told me" I am not responsible for the rice until it gets to my warehouse, and if my warehouse get on fire I have coverage for over 2 million dollars". She told me that the business had been around since 2005. She is very intelligent, We met at a bank I gave her a check for the first time in a bank where I gave her a check, while we were sitting she dialed a number " Hallo, sorry I missed your call, where are you? in front of the warehouse? how many people are with you, 12 , oh no I don't have that much rice, yesterday I gave one market 28 palets and 2 other 35 palest each. I have more than 500 palets coming in 3 days you guys have to wait. Please don't come to my warehouse without calling me first" that was the conversation. After she hanged up the phone she said " kèm fè-m mal pou yo se manje pitit yo yap defann men duriz a ale tankou pate cho" My first payment was some cash and a check with insufficient fund.

Adormeus
Adormeus

Roodalber dats sum real talk i like to c dat dey r a few left who tells it how it is, but those r the same juda's who sold jesus to da jews n had him kill, dey r wit u when its good but dey give u away the moment the flow stopped cum n.

church member
church member

It sounds like you are related to the husband or a close friend of his. He should be arrested because he lived with her and there is no way that she would have not told him. I believe he was apart of it, if he didn't then I guess she is a real good con artist. as far as the members staying quiet. Its not a surprise about it but if someone else were to fall into that predicament. they would have spread it all over the church and call other members foolish. Well I guess they were foolish enough to believe in this fake christian who so called had a business that never existed. This incident has made the Adventist religion look bad but some people are taking it the wrong way. In response to becauz I said so read my comment..I never said anything about knowing about the scheme so I think you should get your facts straight ok. This whole Ponzi Scheme is fresh news to me and I am in shock that people could be so silly and give free money like that.

Black_04us
Black_04us

I didn't say that the Ponzi Scheme starting at Eden! I was just stating that why they have to beg for tithes, offerings, and money for the rebuilding of the church when most of the members gave money to a business that they didn't even see. It just proves how human being have strong faith in man! furthermore it's an embarrassment for the Haitian Community! It just proves how "STUPID" we are excuse my french! to believe that there was a business that was never seen!Through it all..God will deal with Marguerite! As for her husband he should be brought in as well

church member
church member

The critics should be there to teach victims to be smart and think smart. Especially if you are " Following God".

Tonette
Tonette

Dear Jeloi7023:As Christians, we are instructed to be "wise as serpents." Scripture also admonishes us "put not your trust in men." A wise person never hands over money without making sure that their investments are real and legitimate. In this day and age when information is readily available on the internet, there is no excuse for being ignorant on these matters. I do not lose money. I'm not sure where your idea of "Enron" came from - surely not from my post. I have been approached by many church members and pastors over the years about "investing" in one thing or another. I have always refused. All of them have turned out to be scams, and sadly, many of my friends and pastor-friends have lost thousands of dollars that could well have been used for legitimate purposes in God's cause.

God provides us with funds. It is up to us to use them wisely. When promised returns appear more than the usual, our antennae should go up. Listen to the still small voice. I am sure that everyone who invested with Marguerite felt at least a little apprehensive for even a moment. That was the Holy Spirit telling you "NO!" But we allow friendship and the desire to get rich overshadow that gnawing feeling. We have to be so careful, folks.

I don't have an extra dime to waste, far less for thousands. God blesses my funds because I give Him what is His and I spend wisely. I thank Him daily for sparing me from giving in to those who tried and are still trying to get me to put my trust in men. It is all to His glory that I have not given in to the schemes of even my fellow-church members. I am reminded that Jesus spoke more about money than about anything else (except the Kingdom of God), which lets us know that He wants us to be wise in our spending.

church member
church member

Nice day! I guess you need to start walking on the water now! What you are saying is really ignorant! You are foolish that all! I wonder how old are you?

church member
church member

I guess you did some bad investing! I am a person if I don't see with my two eyes, I don't believe anything because men on earth can not be trusted! Thats where everyone went wrong. This is just a lesson to be learned the HARD way. Giving away money like its not of value! I advise any Christian person to make sure they open their mind for future con artist. Remember there is always a copycat who will try to use marguerite strategy in a different way!

Adormeus
Adormeus

Well siad BECUZ I SAID SO its 2 sides to every stories those church peeps r not innocent as dey portay n to.

BECUZ I SAID SO
BECUZ I SAID SO

u got sooo much 2 say bout this situation & dnt hve a f***ing clue! wat gives u dis bright idea dat her husband has anything 2 do wit this? u call urself a church member & knew bout this all this time u should've advise ur so call church members..da bad thing about it is dat I guarantee u dat most if not all these complaining ass haitian probably knew wat da real deal is but since da cash stop flowing....ALL DA B***H ASS SNITCHES START CRYING...GET OVER IT!

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