I’ve warned you about this before, Evolvers…
Financial scammers, pumpers, and promoters are everywhere these days.
If you don’t know the telltale signs to look for, you could end up a victim of one of these frauds.
Think about it…
It was just last month that we broke down the rapid downfall of FTX founder (and now-exposed crypto crook) Sam Bankman-Fried.
Since we last spoke about FTX, Fried has been arrested in the Bahamas on a huge rap sheet of fraud charges.
But now, I feel a responsibility to break down another fraud in the markets, one that’s closer to home (in the world of penny stocks)…
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted eight men associated with Atlas Trading — a Discord community that enticed its followers with the possibility of riches…
The leaders of Atlas — most notably an individual named Edward Constantinescu a.k.a. @MrZackMorris on Twitter — would post photos of lavish mansions, cars, and yachts, implying that their followers could get rich just like they did…
— Jenny99Vibes (@Jennyxoxo991) December 14, 2022
But instead, these scumbags engineered one of the most predatory pump-and-dump schemes in modern history, leaving their followers holding a $114 million bag.
Many unsuspecting retail traders fell for this scam, which is why I want to tell you about it …
Keep reading to hear a crazy story … and learn how you can immunize yourself from promoters, pumpers, and financial scammers.
A Blatant Pump-and-Dump Scheme
If you haven’t heard of Atlas Trading before now, consider yourself lucky.
But unfortunately, many of you probably have heard of this glorified pump-and-dump factory.
That’s because during the pandemic boom in retail trading — when more brokerage accounts were opened than ever before — one face was all over Twitter pumping his multi-million dollar positions…
That face was none other than Zack Morris’s, the ‘cool guy’ character from Saved by the Bell, who Edward Constantinescu used as his alter-ego of sorts.
Edward Constantinescu was, until last week, one of the leading figures of Atlas Trading. If it wasn’t for Constantinescu’s huge rise on social media in 2020, this scam never would’ve become as big as it did.
But it’s never one guy engineering such a massive fraud…
There’s also PJ Matlock, the ‘CEO of Atlas,’ who’s now being arrested outside of his stolen mansion in a scene that looks straight out of a Martin Scorsese movie…
— 💰Retro1UP 💎🚀 (@Retro1upArmy) December 15, 2022
All in all, the following eight ‘furus’ were indicted:
- EDWARD CONSTANTINESCU (@MrZackMorris)
- PERRY “PJ” MATLOCK (@PJ_Matlock)
- JOHN RYBARCZYK (@Ultra_Calls)
- GARY DEEL (@notoriousalerts)
- STEFAN HRVATIN (@LadeBackk)
- TOM COOPERMAN (@ohheytommy)
- MITCHELL HENNESSEY (@hugh_henne)
- DANIEL KNIGHT (@DipDeity)
Unfortunately, during the Pandemic, when everyone was bored at home, there was a perfect storm of conditions for Atlas’s scam to take hold.
The Atlas guys began posting their positions on social media … all in quick succession.
Then, unsuspecting newbie retail traders would follow, pumping the share price…
Meanwhile, the Atlas guys would begin dumping their positions while publicly pumping them, just as retail was starting to get excited about the play.
These Atlas guys were so brazen with their crimes, it’s shocking they weren’t indicted sooner.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this exchange between Constantinescu and Matlock:
— FAKE (@FakePearBear) December 15, 2022
Or turn your attention to Atlas’s infamous Camber Energy Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN: CEI) pump (where Constantin tweeted out a $10 price target just as he sold the stock for $2.61)…
One of the biggest stocks Zack Morris & Atlas Trading promoted was Camber Energy ( $CEI) .
Zack tweeted out a $10 price target and sold the stock for $2.61 30 minutes later.
— 💵OnlyPumps.com💵 (@0nlyPumps) December 14, 2022
Or glance at this section of the indictment, where Daniel Knight brags about “robbing idiots of their f*cking money.”
These fraudsters were, quite simply, stealing retail traders’ money while simultaneously joking about it. Sickening!
This was a textbook pump-and-dump scam. I feel sorry for those who were hurt by this fraud, but it’s now an important lesson for us to examine.
How to Steer Clear of Pumpers and Promoters…
No one understands stock promoters better than Tim Sykes.
And guess what? Sykes has been calling out Constantinescu’s scams for years now…
Another tweet from back in March where I predicted #ZackMorris would be on the run…can someone tell these promoters to stop being so damn predictable? At least the https://t.co/QTYT7tQD2I promoter is still pumping weed stocks to his sheep, c'mon #AtlasTrading crew, keep up! https://t.co/39p9MxHA4O
— Timothy Sykes (@timothysykes) December 15, 2022
This is why I want you to be so careful on social media … especially when people are talking about the stock market.
We’re living in a period of time when it’s easier than ever for scammers to get to you. (Apparently, all they need is an internet connection, PhotoShop, and memes.)
Be skeptical. Expect the worst from any teaching service, Discord community, or Twitter ‘furu’ that hasn’t truly proven its worth to you.
Notice that, while Constantin would regularly post massive trade positions, he never posted an overall account value or trade history.
That’s why I post every trade I make on Profit.ly … so that there’s 100% transparency between me and my students.
On the other hand, when used for good, social media can be an incredibly useful tool for traders.
After all, if it wasn’t for social media, I never would’ve discovered Tim Sykes’ Trading Challenge — the course that changed my life.
I had no worries about working with Sykes because he had a 20+ year track record to back his teaching up.
Atlas was quite the opposite. It certainly isn’t the first scam of its kind, which sadly means that it won’t be the last.
Be careful and stay safe out there, Evolvers!
And at the end of the day, this is a huge reason why I’m proud to be your mentor … I strive to be the polar opposite of the Atlas scumbags.
By posting every trade, writing these letters, and walking you through every decision step-by-step … I dedicate as much time to helping my students as I do to growing my account.
That’s why it enrages me to hear about these kinds of promoters taking traders for a ride.
If there’s any justice in this world … all eight of these crooks will receive the maximum sentences, have all of their assets seized, and get barred from trading for the rest of their lives.
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