Beware The Self-Described "Stock Trading Whiz Kid" With A "Skyscraping IQ" And A Newsletter

And "Manny Backus" for his nom de plume.
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My IQ is this big! By WiNG (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

My IQ is this big! via Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission offered investors a little tip: that (a lot of) investment newsletters are a scam. The regulator told people to be on the look out for newsletters that "promote a stock without properly disclosing compensation received for promoting the stock" as well as false performance claims. It didn't say anything about being skeptical of anyone who describes himself as "the untutored prodigy of stock investing" and throws around the phrase "real money," BUT MAYBE IT SHOULD HAVE.

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a self-proclaimed “stock trading whiz kid” and his stock newsletter company in Los Angeles have agreed to pay nearly $1.5 million to settle charges that they defrauded subscribers through false statements and misrepresentations. According to the SEC’s complaint, Manuel E. Jesus and his newsletter company Wealthpire Inc. used advertising materials and websites touting him as “the untutored prodigy of stock investing” under the alias Manny Backus. A self-purported “math whiz” who boasted a “skyscraping” IQ and training as a professional chess player, Backus claimed to be actively trading in the stock market with ���real money” by age 19. The SEC’s complaint also states that Wealthpire materials claimed that Backus made millions of dollars before “deciding to help other investors” by starting an alert service that let traders copy his every trading move...The SEC’s complaint alleges a series of other misrepresentations to Wealthpire subscribers as well, including false claims about one particular stock alert service that purportedly made historic trading recommendations that yielded huge past returns higher than 1,400 percent.

“Stock Trading Whiz Kid” to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle Stock Newsletter Fraud Charges [SEC via Matt Levine]

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Goldman Sachs Alum And Self-Described "Astronaut In Training" Has A Dream

Involving weightless trading and his Buzz Lightyear cape. In an interview in the latest edition of the London-based publication Square Mile Magazine, former Goldman Sachs trader Anton Kreil has announced that he will be attempting to become the first person in history to make a financial markets transaction in Space, when he hops aboard the XCOR Lynx MKII shuttle with Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) in 2014. Technically, the World Records that Kreil and SXC will be attempting are "First Financial Transaction in Space" and "Highest Recorded Financial Transaction." However, given that Kreil is a City-based trader, the "Financial Transactions" he will be making will be a Currency Trade and a Stock / Share Trade. In the Square Mile interview, Kreil outlined that since he is British and is flying in a US-built shuttle, trading the currency pair of Sterling US Dollar (GBP/USD), commonly known in the financial markets as "Cable", made perfect sense. Kreil admitted: "I certainly can't commit to trading the Euro. With the way things are looking at the moment, it may not even be around by the time we go." The flight will be broadcast live on the internet, so the sponsors of the trades will get instant worldwide exposure. There will be cameras inside the aircraft and Kreil will be floating weightless in the cockpit, looking down at Earth and buying the sponsor's stock. "From the companies' perspective, the message of being a true global pioneer is a great message. It's an amazing situation to be involved in," stated Kreil. The flight itself will take off from either Mohave in California or the Caribbean island of Curacao. It will take Anton four minutes to get to Space and he will be travelling at three times the speed of sound up to 103km (330,000 feet). 100km is the internationally-accepted border to Space and is known as The Karman Line. As long as Kreil executes the trade at 100km above sea level, the sponsor will hold the record. Kreil will then fly back to Earth and the entire trip will be around one hour. SXC and Anton Kreil - "The First Trade in Space" [Press Release] Anton Kreil [Twitter]