Marl the “Stock-Picking Robot” — Really?

A pair of now 21 year-old twin brothers from England fooled thousands of U.S. investors into believing that a fictitious “stock-picking robot” they called Marl and hyped on the internet could spot penny stocks set to soar in price, the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in civil litigation filed Friday. These fooled investors paid at least $1.2 million for a newsletter subscription and home “robot software” used to access Marl’s stock picks, according to the complaint in the case. The brothers apparently began scamming investors when they were just 16 years old.

Some of the lessons here should be obvious.  Lots of people

  1. Want to get rich quick, without having to work for it;
  2. Think investing has some magic bullet or formula to allow them to do so;
  3. Are basically clueless about the markets;
  4. Desperately need help with their investing and financial planning; and
  5. Have no idea how to get the help they need.

One obvious conclusion: There is plenty of opportunity for investment advisors who are competent, professional and ethical.

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