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Teenager who claimed to make $72 million on stock market admits to making whole thing up

The boy who cried Wolf of Wall Street.

Image: Linkedin

A 17-YEAR-OLD who claimed to have made $72 million trading stocks on the stock market has admitted to making the whole story up.

On Sunday, New York Magazine published a story on Mohammed Islam as part of its annual Reasons To Love New York issue.

In the article, journalist Jessica Pressler claimed the teenager had made the huge sum on the stock market.

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.
An unbelievable amount of money for anyone, not least a high-school student, but as far as rumors go, this one seemed legit. Everyone at Stuy knew that Mohammed, the soft-spoken son of Bengali immigrants from Queens and the president of the school’s Investment Club, was basically a genius.

The story quickly went viral with the teenager’s apparent wealth leaving many feeling deeply inadequate.

The New York Post even carried the story on its front page.

Soon after its publication, however, many begin to query the $72 million figure and wondered if it was all too good to be true.

And it turns out it was.

After the teenager pulled out of a scheduled CNBC appearance and confessed the $72 million figure was inaccurate, New York Observer published an exclusive interview with Mohammad Islam in which he admitted to making the whole thing up.

Islam told the newspaper that he had only ever participated in “simulated trades” and had never actually invested in anything.

New York Magazine claimed to have seen a bank statement that backed up Islam’s claims. A source close to the family told The Washington Post that the teenager “created some bulls**t thing on the computer with blacked out numbers”.

The magazine has  since added an editor’s note to the beginning of the story in which they apologise to readers.

We were duped. Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better. New York apologizes to our readers.

It’s the second such fact-checking scandal in recent weeks. Just two weeks ago, Rolling Stone revealed it had uncovered multiple discrepancies in an article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.

Rolling Stone apologises for ‘discrepancies’ in university rape story >

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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