Reasons to Love New York 2014 – Stock Trader Mohammed Islam –
Editor’s note: In the latest edition of New York, its annual Reasons to Love New York issue, the magazine ran this story about a Stuyvesant high school student named Mohammed Islam, who allegedly won $72 million in stock. Islam said his net worth was in the “high eight figures”. As part of the research process, the magazine sent a fact-checker to Stuyvesant, where Islam produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-digit bank account. After the story was published, people questioned the $72 million figure in the headline, which was written by publishers based on the rumor. The title has been changed. But in a interview with the New York Observer Last night Islam now says its whole story was made up. A source close to the Islam family told Washington To post that the statements were falsified. We have been duped. Our fact-checking process was clearly inadequate; we take full responsibility and should have known better. New York apologizes to our readers.
Rumors on Wall Street can be powerful. A murmur can turn into a current that moves the markets, driving a stock price up or down. There’s perhaps only one other place where gossip has such a hold, and that’s high school.
At the end of last year, a rumor started circulating in Stuyvesant that a junior named Mohammed Islam had made a fortune on the stock market. Not a small fortune either. Seventy-two million.
An incredible amount of money for anyone, no less a high school student, but as far as the rumors go, this one seemed legit. Everyone at Stuy knew that Mohammed, the soft-spoken son of Bengali immigrants from Queens and president of the school’s investment club, was basically a genius.
As the news spread, Mo’s shares went up. The school newspaper described it, Business Intern included it on a list of ??20 under 20, ?? and Mo became ??a celebrity,?? as his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov said on a recent Friday night at Mari Vanna near Union Square. ??A VIP!??
Mo, a senior cherub with a goatee and slight false-hawk, smiles shyly. ??It is quiet today,?? said Patrick Trablusi, who was sitting with Mo and Damir at a table strewn with empty glasses. ??Humble.?? And tired: ??It’s our third meeting of the day,?? Damir said, motioning the waitress for another round. ??We saw a real estate agent, a lawyer, you ????
??Next we will see a type of hedge fund,?? said Patrick. The friends looked at each other and started laughing.
??He basically wants to give us $150 million,?? Mo explained, a blush like a sunset creeping across her cheeks.
The waitress arrived with a tray of green drinks. ??Freshly squeezed apple juice,?? Damir said passing them. ??It is very good. Do you like caviar???
After Mo became a celebrity, things got a little awkward at school. (?? Aren’t you the kid who made all that money??? a teacher asked him.) So he logged back in?? with kids from his old school, Allen-Stevenson. One of them introduced him to Patrick, a budding financier, who introduced him to Damir at a poker game attended by children whose parents are, according to Damir, “the one percent one percent”.
Son of a Kazakh oligarch, Damir is tall, thin and arrogant, like a cigarette wearing a felt hat. ??I call the poker game “Destiny,” he said. The waitress came with a plate. ??Here, have some caviar.??
Over late nights and dinners at Morimoto, the three hatched a plan to create a hedge fund. ??There are many steps we need to follow,?? said Patrick, referring to a more serious Chuck Bass. ??But we are on the right track.?? They plan to launch in June, after Mo turns 18 and can obtain his broker’s license. ??Mo is our maestro,?? said Patrick. ?? He will make a lot of money. We’re just going to try to meet his needs.??
All three plan to go to college next year, but they don’t worry that classes will get in the way of their goal: ??One billion dollars!?? said Damir. ??By next year!?? Mo confirmed the number with a nod. ??But it’s not just a question of money,?? he added. ??We want to create a brotherhood. Like, all of us who are connected, who are in something together, who have influence, like the Koch brothers????
??As in The wolf of Wall Street!?? Damir intervened. ??And Mo is Jordan Belfort.??
??No, but, not like that,?? said Patrick, turning slightly pale.
Like Belfort, Mo started with penny stocks. A cousin showed him how to trade. He loved the feeling of risk – the way his hand shook while trading – but he swore it off after losing some of the money he had earned tutoring. ??I didn’t have the balls for that,?? he said. He was 9 years old.
It took a while before he was ready to try again. In the meantime, he became a scholar of modern finance, studying hedge fund managers. He was particularly in love with Paul Tudor Jones. ?? I had been paralyzed by my loss,?? says Mo. ??But he was able to get back at it, even after losing thousands of dollars repeatedly. Paul Tudor Jones says, “You learn more from your losses than from your gains.” ?? Mo got into oil and gold trading, and his bank account grew. Although he was coy about the $72 million figure, he confirmed that his net worth is in the high eight figures. More than enough to rent an apartment in Manhattan, even if his parents won’t let him live until he’s 18 and buy a BMW, which he can’t drive because he doesn’t yet have a license. Thus, it falls to his father to drive him past Tudor Jones’ Greenwich home for inspiration. ??It is because he is who he is who made me what I am today,?? tell me.
That is to say: a follower of Wall Street. ??A lot of young people are doing start-ups, but I think it’s a bubble. Trading and investing will still be there. Money will always spin ????
??Money never sleeps!?? Damir added. ??It is Wall Street movie.??
??It all boils down to this,?? Mo continued. ??What makes the world go round? Money. If the money does not flow, if the companies do not continue, there is no innovation, no products, no investments, no growth, no jobs.??
The check arrived for the caviar and the apple juice. It totaled $400.
??New York is where the money is,?? Damir shouted, pulling out a credit card.
It reminded me of an old joke about bank robbery because that’s where the money is. Damir smiles. ??My dad has a quote,?? he said. ??It’s really dope: ??You can rob a bank with a gun, but you can rob everything world with a Bank.’ ??
Patrick buried his face in his hands. ??At the end of the day,?? he said, ?? we are young children.??