Fake Stock-Picking Robot Threatens To Ruin Things For All The Legit Stock-Picking Robots Out There

Imagine, if you will, that you are a stock-picking robot. You've put in the time, come up through the trenches, and have finally started to garner the respect you deserve. Investors are flocking to your fund, begging to put in as much money as you'll let them. People were wary at first, not sure what to make of your style, but you've finally proved to them you're the real deal. Life is good. Then some two-bit hacks come along and threaten to destroy everything you've worked for, sullying the reputation of legitimate stock-picking robots with the one they used as a front for their scam. Starting at the age of sixteen, the defendants, twin brothers Alexander John Hunter and Thomas Edward Hunter, developed an elaborate scheme to manipulate the prices of penny stocks at the expense of unwitting investors. The Hunters concocted and hyped the tale of a “stock picking robot” named "Marl" that they claimed could identify penny stocks that were poised to appreciate sharply in value. In their email newsletters and websites (doublingstocks.com and daytradingrobot.com), the defendants represented that the “robot” was a highly sophisticated computer trading program and the product of extensive research and development. The defendants’ story was persuasive. Approximately 75,000 investors, the vast majority of whom lived in the United States, paid at least $1,200,000 for annual subscriptions to the Doubling Stocks newsletter and copies of the robot software. In reality, the “stock picking robot” was a work of fiction. Did "Marl" come up with brilliant investment ideas based on painstaking research, meetings with management, and complex analysis? No, in fact he did not. Defendant Alexander John Hunter, in seeking bids to create the software in 2007, described the requirements for the software to freelance software coders as follows: Need a small software program which will appear to the user that once running it is analyzing thousands of penny stocks. Every so often, the software will find a stock, and a message will appear from the system tray, and on the program showing the ticker symbol. IMPORTANT: This software does not actually find stocks at all. It should connect to my database and simply request any new stocks I have put in. Basically this is almost a “fake” piece of software and needs to simply appear advanced to the user... To say nothing of the fact that his purported credentials were bold-faced lies. On their doublingstocks.com website, the defendants referred to the stock-picking robot as “Marl”, combining the first names of its purported inventors, Michael Cohen (“Cohen”) and Carl Williamson. On doublingstocks.com, the defendants claimed that Michael Cohen “developed the famous ‘Global Alpha’ computer stock trading model” as a contractor for the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”). The Global Alpha program, the defendants claimed, in “most years is responsible for $4,000,000,000+ Annual Trading Profit.” The defendants’ representations about “Michael Cohen” were false. No such employee or contractor worked in that capacity at Goldman Sachs. SEC Charges British Twin Brothers Touting "Stock Picking Robot" in Internet Pump-and-Dump Scheme [SEC] SEC v. Hunter Brothers [SEC]
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Imagine, if you will, that you are a stock-picking robot. You've put in the time, come up through the trenches, and have finally started to garner the respect you deserve. Investors are flocking to your fund, begging to put in as much money as you'll let them. People were wary at first, not sure what to make of your style, but you've finally proved to them you're the real deal. Life is good. Then some two-bit hacks come along and threaten to destroy everything you've worked for, sullying the reputation of legitimate stock-picking robots with the one they used as a front for their scam.

Starting at the age of sixteen, the defendants, twin brothers Alexander John Hunter and Thomas Edward Hunter, developed an elaborate scheme to manipulate the prices of penny stocks at the expense of unwitting investors. The Hunters concocted and hyped the tale of a “stock picking robot” named "Marl" that they claimed could identify penny stocks that were poised to appreciate sharply in value. In their email newsletters and websites (doublingstocks.com and daytradingrobot.com), the defendants represented that the “robot” was a highly sophisticated computer trading program and the product of extensive research and development. The defendants’ story was persuasive. Approximately 75,000 investors, the vast majority of whom lived in the United States, paid at least $1,200,000 for annual subscriptions to the Doubling Stocks newsletter and copies of the robot software. In reality, the “stock picking robot” was a work of fiction.

Did "Marl" come up with brilliant investment ideas based on painstaking research, meetings with management, and complex analysis? No, in fact he did not.

Defendant Alexander John Hunter, in seeking bids to create the software in 2007, described the requirements for the software to freelance software coders as follows: Need a small software program which will appear to the user that once running it is analyzing thousands of penny stocks. Every so often, the software will find a stock, and a message will appear from the system tray, and on the program showing the ticker symbol. IMPORTANT: This software does not actually find stocks at all. It should connect to my database and simply request any new stocks I have put in. Basically this is almost a “fake” piece of software and needs to simply appear advanced to the user...

To say nothing of the fact that his purported credentials were bold-faced lies.

On their doublingstocks.com website, the defendants referred to the stock-picking robot as “Marl”, combining the first names of its purported inventors, Michael Cohen (“Cohen”) and Carl Williamson. On doublingstocks.com, the defendants claimed that Michael Cohen “developed the famous ‘Global Alpha’ computer stock trading model” as a contractor for the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”). The Global Alpha program, the defendants claimed, in “most years is responsible for $4,000,000,000+ Annual Trading Profit.” The defendants’ representations about “Michael Cohen” were false. No such employee or contractor worked in that capacity at Goldman Sachs.

Marl's twin bosses also inflated their own age (claiming to be 23 years-old when they are in fact twenty), while suggesting that Marl, supposedly 5, was some kind of trading wunderkind.

SEC v. Hunter Brothers [SEC]
SEC Charges British Twin Brothers Touting "Stock Picking Robot" in Internet Pump-and-Dump Scheme [SEC]

Related

Attention Connecticut Residents: Watch Out For Tire Irons To The Face

Among the many reasons typically cited by hedge fund managers who choose to run their business out of Connecticut instead of New York are: 1. The room to stretch their shit out 2. Proximity to the Long Island Sound 3. Convenience for those already living in the area. Some probably also believe that the Fairfield County is slightly safer than New York City. That you're not going to get jumped walking out of the office or beaten with a tire iron because you messed with someone's man or woman. OR WILL YOU?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Became The Chiseled Adonis You See Before You Through A Strict Regimen Of Picking Up Rocks And Lying In Bed For Two Years

Have you ever gazed upon classical Greek philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb and thought to yourself, "That man has a body from the gods. I could never hope to match him in brains, but what about brawn? If only I could obtain the details of his diet and fitness regimen"? Well, friends, today is your lucky day. Despite still being on his second tour of self-imposed quiet time, Taleb granted several interviews to publications reviewing his new book, "Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder," and, naturally, the topic of his physique came up, specifically the various ways he keeps it in such enviable shape. (He also touches on the exercises that led to him having a brain three times the size of the typical astrophysicist, though please note that these should be appreciated but not be attempted by average humans, who could hurt themselves quite badly.)

UBS Broker May Have Taken Stress Of The Job Out On 70 Windows In Beverly Hills, Encino Using "Slingshot Projectiles"

This is his story. The unlikely suspect in a string of window breakings in Beverly Hills -- a 58-year-old Encino investment adviser -- may be connected to 70 additional cases in the area, authorities said. Michael Steven Poret, a broker at UBS Financial Services, was arrested in Encino last week. Police say that Poret vandalized numerous businesses along Ventura Boulevard and several private homes in Beverly Hills. A witness account and private surveillance footage have depicted the vandal as a graying man in white gloves firing marbles at plate glass windows with a slingshot from the driver's seat of his car, then driving away in no apparent hurry. Authorities believe that Poret could be connected to more than 20 vandalism incidents in Beverly Hills and more than 50 in Encino, as well as several other vandalism reports authorities have received in Van Nuys and Topanga Canyon. The vandal appears to target businesses indiscriminately, hitting coffee shops, an autism treatment center and a salon. Luie Velasquez, a detective with the West Valley division of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the police's top theory is that the suspect sought excitement. "Your guess is as good as mine," Velasquez said. "For whatever reason, these individuals get some sort of thrill from smashing windows." Poret was first arrested July 3 after a Beverly Hills patrol officer spotted a slingshot in his vehicle during a traffic stop for a vehicle code violation. A search of his vehicle revealed brass knuckles, knives and slingshot projectiles. Poret was arrested again Thursday in an early morning raid on his Encino home, where police discovered firearms, bb guns, slingshots and marbles similar to those used in the window-breakings. A very understanding victim whose windows were hit three times and cost him $7,000 to repair had this to say: "I mean, I know that an investment bankers* are a little nuts. But you know, maybe the market is that bad. I don't get that. He must be a very frustrated guy." Alleged window-smashing broker may be suspect in 70 more cases [LATimes via TRB] *All together now: broker ≠ investment banker ≠ trader ≠ bank teller