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December 16, 2014

Another Viral Media Story Turns Out To Be, Get This, Completely Fabricated

New York magazine ran a piece about Mohammad Islam, a Bedford-Stuyvesant high school senior who made a whopping $72 million playing the stock markets.

Rumors, on Wall Street, can be powerful. A whisper can turn into a current that moves markets, driving a stock price up or sending it tumbling. There may be only one other place where gossip holds such sway, and that is high school.

Late last year, a rumor began circulating at Stuyvesant that a junior named Mohammed Islam had made a fortune in the stock market. Not a small fortune, either. Seventy-two million.

...

As the news spread, Moís stock went up. The school paper profiled him, Business Insider included him on a list of "20 Under 20," and Mo became "a celebrity," as his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov put it on a recent Friday night at Mari Vanna near Union Square. "A VIP!"

...

Mo got into trading oil and gold, and his bank account grew. Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the "high eight figures." More than enough to rent an apartment in Manhattan--though his parents wonít let him live in it until he turns 18--and acquire a BMW, which he canít drive because he doesn't yet have a license.

The 72 million dollars figure turns out to be slightly exaggerated.

"Mo's" real take from the stock market is more modest: Zero dollars. Zero point zero dollars, and zero cents.

American.

It was just kids making up a story, but Business Insider ran it, then New York, and then the New York Post.

You seem to be quoted saying "eight figures." Thatís not true, is it?

No, it is not true.


Is there ANY figure? Have you invested and made returns at all?

No.

So it's total fiction?

Yes.

Are you interested in investing? How did you get this reputation?

I run an investment club at Stuy High which does only simulated trades.

If you had been playing with real money, would you have done really well?

The simulated trades percentage was extremely high relative to the S&P.

Where did [New York magazine writer] Jessica Pressler come up with the $72 million figure?

I honestly donít know. The number's a rumor.

She said'Ďhave you made $72 million'?

[I led her to believe] I had made even more than $72 million on the simulated trades.

At this point the PR reps jumped in with Law & Order style objections. A conference outside the room ensued. Back into the room came Mr. Islam.

All I can say is for the simulated trades, I was very successful. The returns were incredible and outperformed the S&P.

And I've won the championship eight times straight on simulated seasons of Tecmo Bowl.



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posted by Ace at 12:13 PM

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