Sometimes you feel like a billionaire, sometimes you don’t.
A High senior named Mohammed Islam is finding out the hard way how a small fib can turn into a media sensation in just a few hours.
Islam, who reportedly made a fortune investing in the stock market, is now coming clean about the exact figure.
The New York Post’s headline read: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market,” but now it’s been revealed that the true number is closer to ZERO!
“The attention is not what we expected – we never wanted the hype. This was about friends trying to make something exciting together, ” Mr. Islam said in an exclusive CNBC interview.
In other words, ‘our lie got outta hand’! Details below…
In an exclusive interview with the NY Observer, Mr. Islam and his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov, who also featured heavily in the $72 million story, came clean. Admitting that they were swept up in a tide of media adulation, they made the whole thing up!
At school, first things first. I am incredibly sorry for any misjudgment and any hurt I caused. The people I’m most sorry for is my parents. I did something where I can no longer gain their trust. I have one sister, two years younger, and we don’t really talk.
Speaking at the offices of their newly hired crisis pr firm, 5WPR, Islam told a story that will be familiar to just about any 12th grader… a fib that turned into a lie that turned into a rumor that turned into a bunch of mainstream media stories and invitations to appear on CNBC.
After The Post picked up on the bogus narrative, Islam said that the staggering $72 million figure was just a rumor.
“Mr. Muhammad Islam fibbed to a reporter and for this he is very apologetic,” said Ronn Torossian, a spokesman for the teen.
New York magazine said the figure was portrayed as a rumor and the headline on its website has been changed. On Tuesday morning, the magazine’s website published an apology to readers, admitting it had been “duped” by the teen.
Islam’s parents are furious at him. (source)
Welp… there goes your dreams of getting rich on penny stocks!
As for New York Magazine, they’re sticking by their story in a statement to NBC, although they did change their headline:
The article portrays the $72 million figure only as a rumor; we changed the headline on the story to reflect more clearly the fact that we did not know the exact figure of how much he had made in trades.
The story itself does not specify an amount. However, Mohammed provided bank statements that showed he is worth eight figures; he confirmed on the record that he’s worth eight figures.
New York Magazine says that they saw a bank statement that verified that Islam is worth eight figures, so whether the 17-year-old is worth $72 million or whether he’s worth $10 million. Doctored? Maybe, but at least they attempted to cover their bases.
Many blame the reporter for believing the kid, but perhaps the blame falls on everyone’s desire to believe in the ‘American dream’… *shrug*
How do you feel about the teen’s elaborate media hoax?