Who can forget the amazing story of Alex Hope which was all the rage two years ago? Actually considering how short reader, institutional and certainly vacuum tube memories have become, perhaps everyone. So here is a reminder.
The UK's Daily Mirror newspaper has uncovered the FX trader who dropped over $300k in a Scouse club. It is a 23-year old 'self-taught' barrow-boy named (somewhat ironically in our view) Alex Hope. Self-described as "talented (three years in and a six-figure salary, hhmm), charismatic (its amazing how much 'charisma' a GBP125k bottle of bubbly will buy), and thoroughly likeable (ditto) man. Alex Hope exudes knowledge..." and is willing to share it with you according to his website. How did he become this B.S.D. of the FX markets? "I took two months off my job at Wembley, got really obsessed with reading charts and got the guts to start trading properly." This self-made rosy-cheeked young man with a penchant for mind-numbingly-arrogant-looking photos on his website may have just become the poster boy for all that is 'great' about the free market...
And the obligatory shot of a pensive trader next to many screens with his thumb on his chin, which is supposed to give him more credibility:
Actually, as it turns out, Alex' "success" had little if anything to do with the perversion and idiocy of what Bernanke and central-planning crew have done to the capital markets (which do their best to encourage daily trading perfection by such specimens as Virtu algos, Bank of America's Calcutta trading desk and the E*trade baby), and everything to do with a certain Italian who arrived in the US in 1903, only to take the world of financial criminals, Keynesians and central bankers by storm: one Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi.
Because as it turns out young master Hope, who struck the proverbial gold at the tender age of 23, was nothing more than the latest Ponzi schemer whose only success in life was finding the absolute, and quite rich, idiots who believed his lies. Well, that, and being able to transform himself from a catering manager working at Wembley Stadium into an FX trader.... even if a fake, criminal and absolutely terrible FX trader. Daily Mail reports:
A catering manager who posed as a City whizzkid to run a £5.6million Ponzi fraud spent £2million on champagne, nightclubs and casinos, a court heard yesterday.
Alex Hope, 25, told investors he could make them a fortune from foreign exchange trades. But the ‘City high-flier’ was in reality a former catering manager at Wembley Stadium.
He used the cash from investors as his ‘personal piggy-bank’, spending £125,000 on a single bottle of champagne – a Nebuchadnezzar, which holds 15 litres – Southwark Crown Court heard.
He repaid them using cash from new investors in the fraudulent Forex scheme.
So, nothing more than a young apprentice of the likes of Bernie Madoff and Ben Bernanke. But who can blame him?
Here's a before picture:
Because obviously all it takes to fool rich, easily-swayed idiots is a guy chugging hundreds of thousands of dollars in booze and hanging out with bobos. No, really:
Hope frittered away almost £1million in casinos and racked up bar bills of £500,000 mixing with stars at exclusive nightclubs after he reinvented himself as a Forex trader.
He boasted of his rags to riches story in the Daily Telegraph in May 2011, claiming he made his fortune after reading a book on how to trade currencies during his commute to Wembley.
Prosecutor Sarah Clarke said: ‘He promised investors and potential investors huge returns. In truth this was not a real trading scheme at all... it was a classic Ponzi fraud. He used their funds as his personal piggy-bank. A massive amount was spent on himself.’
‘The investors who put in the money in good faith had no idea this was happening.’
The jury heard that Hope paid a PR company £3,000 a month to promote his image as a successful trader.
He bragged about his financial wizardry, claiming he made £600 profit on his first day of trading the dollar against sterling and in only two and a half months his initial £500 stake had grown to £2,500.
Jurors were played a showreel video of Hope in which he boasted of his success saying: ‘You don’t get many young people working in the City doing what I do. I like to do a lot for people – I’m not doing this just to make money for my business but also to create jobs for others.’ The film, produced by his cohort Raj Von Badlo, was uploaded on YouTube in February 2012 while Hope was trading losses of £500,000 and had liabilities of nearly £2million.
And so on.
But his most impressive success? "Hope got through £2million in the 13 months before his arrest in early 2012." That somehow between PR clips, photo shoots, and hypnotizing new clients with his unambiguous "charm and likability", he managed to blow through over $3 million in just over a year is truly a commendable achievement, all else being equal.