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Francis Coquelin


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Middle-class rogue trader aged 16 made £1.5m from his bedroom after duping thousands in online stock tips scam

A teenager behind an illegal share trading operation made £1.5million in just three years from his bedroom, a court heard yesterday.

Alexander Hunter duped tens of thousands of investors into paying a subscription fee for tip-offs about U.S. penny stocks.

Hunter, who was just 16, claimed he had a computer program able to pick lucrative shares.


Pay back: At the age of 16, Alexander Hunter set up a website offering financial advice to customers. Now aged 21, he must repay nearly £1m

In return for a £30 subscription fee, investors would receive the tips via his website and would double their money, he said.

But the stock trading program Hunter promoted was merely a product of his imagination and the get-rich-quick promise amounted to nothing, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Hunter, who is now 21, pleaded guilty to four charges of unauthorised trading under the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000.

He escaped a prison sentence but was ordered to pay back £986,508.54 he had taken from his unwitting investors.

As part of a classic ‘pump-and-dump’ scam the thousands who had subscribed to his website raced to buy the shares picked by his computer ‘robot’, increasing the stock price.

Hunter then quickly sold shares that he had already bought in the same firms and doubled his money.

But as more people bought in, the stock value dropped dramatically, leaving his victims out of pocket by the time they were able to sell.

They had been fooled by a teenager still living with his parents and brother at a £500,000 bungalow in the seaside town of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

The operation started in April 2007 and continued until July 2010. By that time he had made more than £1.5million. His father, Brian, 57, a chartered surveyor, and mother June, a 54-year-old council worker, knew nothing of his deception.


Hunter duped his clients into investing in companies on the New York Stock Exchange. But his program to predict wise investments was a myth

Hunter had told his victims the average return was more than 105 per cent.

After persuading them to part with their subscription fee he offered to send them the software for the so-called shares robot for a further £65.

It failed to download when they came to use it.

Following complaints to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a financial investigation was conducted by Northumbria Police’s serious and organised crime unit.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim McAll said: ‘These sorts of boiler-room cases are difficult to investigate as they are often online-based and have transactions all over the world.

‘Working with U.S. authorities we have managed to locate these activities back to Hunter’s home address in Whitley Bay and he has now faced the consequences of his actions.’

Last night, one neighbour said: ‘He was very, very clever at school, but he would brag about his website and how much money he could make. Nobody believed him, they thought he was just a kid.

‘The teachers would joke that Alex earned more money than they did. But I don’t think anyone knew that what Alex was doing was illegal. For their 18th birthdays Alex and his brother both got sports cars.’

A former classmate said: ‘He was a bit of a nerd who always wanted to be cool. He said to me: “I don’t know anything about stocks and shares, but they don’t know that. Those shares could go up and I could make them billions – but probably not. It could go either way. They could make a fortune or they could lose one”.’

Last night, a CPS spokesman said: ‘It took some time to bring Hunter to justice, but ultimately he has had to pay for the crime he committed.

‘This type of offence is sometimes called white-collar crime but in fact it is no different to any other crime.

‘Hunter broke the law and is now being made to pay for his actions.’

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £3,000 in costs.

Sounds like him

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Surely there was a way too make himself untraceable

So basically got community service and what he's still got 497,000???


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He would've got to keep way more than 500k.

Plus he not only ripped people off but used that money and his business to basically make him even more money in the markets.

sick guy.

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