A Bengali-origin teen from New York who made headlines around the world after claiming he had made nearly £50 million playing the stock market has admitted that it was all a lie.
Mohammed Islam, a 17-year-old student from the city’s Stuyvesant High School, told the New York Magazine that he had made the money trading in gold futures and equities.
He also claimed that his net worth was in the “high eight figure” range.
However, in a later interview with the New York Observer Islam confessed that the whole story was fake and that not only had failed to make any money he had also never dealt with real money.
Mohammed and his partner and friend Damir Tulemaganbetov – the son of a Kazakh oligarch – made the confession in the presence of lawyers although they did admit to running an “investment club” at the school.
His ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ story also featured a brand new BMW and a luxury apartment in Manhattan.
Islam however, said that his parents – unsurprisingly – were not happy.
He told the Observer: “Honestly, my dad wanted to disown me. My mum basically said she’d never talk to me. Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me…they knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since.”
The teenager’s “exploits” first came to light in 2013 when the school newspaper did a profile on him after he told a student reporter that he made $72 million (£46 million) in just one year.
He was later included in Business Insider magazine’s “20 Under 20” financial whiz kids before being interviewed by the New York magazine as part of a piece called “Reasons to Love New York”.
He told the New York Magazine that he intended to start his own hedge fund when he turns 18 next June and is then able to bag himself an official stock trader’s license.
The elaborate story also described how Mohammed had begun trading in ‘Penny Stocks’ at the age of nine after getting instructions from a cousin.
He was immediately compared to the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, Jordan Belfont, especially after Mohammed revealed that he “loved the feeling of risk” inherent in stock trading.
“It all comes down to this. What makes the world go round? Money. If money is not flowing, if businesses don’t keep going, there’s no innovation, no products, no investments, no growth, no jobs.”
Fine economic sense. But all a lie.