Online Trading Academy. Yes, its a FRAUD.

The United States Federal Trade Commission has finally exploded the Online Trading Academy.

On February 12, 2020, the FTC filed a massive 8000+ page lawsuit alleging that the Online Trading Academy ripped off thousands of consumers for a total of $370 million dollars, since at least 2014.

However, the alleged fraud is likely much larger and probably closer to $670 million dollars. According to a source that contacted TradingSchools.Org, the organization was not charged with the full amount because the statute of limitations only covered the prior 6 years.

The lawsuit filed in the Southern District of California is an absolute nightmare and essentially describes what amounts to a highly refined and well-orchestrated financial slaughterhouse where primarily elderly consumers were fleeced of their life savings.

Additionally, on February 25, the FTC was able to successfully obtain a Temporary Restraining Order and was able to freeze the personal and corporate assets of the company founders: Eyal Shachar and Sam Seiden.

Eyah Shahar of Online Trading Academy
Eyal Shachar of Online Trading Academy. A conman without compare.

As it currently stands, the fraudulent company is essentially on life support and making a last-ditch, “bet the company” legal strategy to fight the Federal Trade Commission in Federal Court.

Good luck with that.

The TradingSchools.Org Investigation

Since early 2019, TradingSchools.Org began to receive a steady stream of information from former company salespeople describing that a nascent investigation had commenced at the Federal Trade Commission.

We began to receive a tremendous amount of information that could have only come from someone working on the inside.

All the while, hundreds of consumers have requested that TradingSchools.Org write a review about Online Trading Academy. However, with the pending FTC investigation, we felt it best to wait until all the facts came out, and more witnesses were willing to come forward.

The Online Trading Academy is highly litigious. A search of state and federal court record databases reveals that they will sue pretty much anyone that negatively speaks or writes about them.

These lawsuits include suing and or threatening to sue the very people that they have ripped off. Their legal strategy has been to “spend whatever it takes” to keep the truth from coming out.

Finally, the FTC has taken bold action. It is good to know that the assets of the company founders have been frozen, and are pending the outcome of a trial in Federal Court.

In the following paragraphs, I would like to give a highly truncated version of events. Considering that the lawsuit is over 8000 pages long, there is way too much ground to cover. The following is short, sweet, and not perfectly accurate. Many witnesses were not willing to use their real names for fear of yet more legal reprisal.

The people running this company are very ugly.

Online Trading Academy: What, where, and how much?

The headquarters of the Online Trading Academy is located in Irvine, California.

However, there are also dozens of franchises located throughout the United States and several locations located outside of the United States.

The cost of a franchise depended on the territory and size of the general population in the area. The prices ranged from $300k to $750k, with approximately 10% of gross sales paid to the corporate headquarters.

What did you get for your franchise fee? According to our source, the Online Trading Academy pre-packaged a “business opportunity” that taught franchise owners how to fleece consumers with the well-worn sales pitch of “easily earn millions through day trading.”

Consumers would spend upwards of $60k per person to supposedly learn how to day trade from a purported “professional day trader.”

According to the FTC, the company had a special affinity for scamming the elderly and financially illiterate.

More on that later.

Online Trading Academy: The Early Years

Online Trading Academy was established in about 2001 by Eyal Shachar and Sam Seiden.

In the late 1990s, Eyal Sachar arrived in the United States “with zero money” as he describes in his personal biography.

According to people that know him, he is a life long con artist that fled Israel for attempting to sell fake diamonds to consumers.

Additionally, he is described as a “professional con artist” that has spent his entire life selling all manner of get-rich-quick schemes and financial whack-a-doodle.

When he arrived in the United States, “he didn’t know the difference between a stock and a rock.” In fact, he has never day traded successfully, holds no professional qualifications, and has been nearly convicted on multiple financial crimes in his native Israel, according to our source.

But Eyal Shachar quickly realized that American consumers had an unseemingly unquenchable appetite for “day trading” products and services.

About this time, he met a person named Sam Seiden. Mr. Seiden was also a professional con artist that had spent the prior several years selling books and courses describing himself a “millionaire day trader” and he would sell you his “secret trading system” for several thousand dollars.

Sam Seiden of Online Trading Academy. A losing trader. And a professional conman.

They next devised a scheme where they would lure unsuspecting consumers into a professional-looking office replete with dozens of computer screens.

The office was made to appear as a “prop trading” office where professional traders were supposedly executing trades and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Consumers were allowed to walk and talk to these “professional traders” including Sam Seiden and they were told that “day trading is easy” but you “need a proper education.”

However, what consumers did not realize is that these “professional prop traders” were nothing more than formerly used car salesmen, timeshare salespeople, and generally people of low moral character.

Consumers were then taken into specially designed sales offices where Eyal Shachar and Sam Seiden would walk the consumer down a carefully prepared “primrose path.” In short, they were shown falsified brokerage statements and stories of “day trading glory.”

The cost to learn these supposed secrets was upwards of $60k per consumer. However, most elderly and financially illiterate are on a fixed income and typically financially desperate.

And so, they devised a scheme where the victim was offered the opportunity to finance their “day trading education” at 18% interest, which must be paid back over the following 6-months.

Knowing that these consumers were typically middle class, and their primary asset was their home, they encouraged consumers to leverage their home equity, borrow on credit cards, or do whatever possible to raise money to pay the educational fees, and open a trading account.

Consumers were led to believe that most people started a trading account with $5k and typically earned $5k to $50k per month by using their “patented trading strategy.”

The Patented Trading Strategy

To further extend the fraud, and to add a bit of sizzle to the sales pitch, they presented consumers with a fancy looking document from the United States Patent Office.

Both Sam and Eyal promised consumers that “This patent serves as proof that our trading strategy is legitimate.”

However, nothing could have been further from the truth. Obtaining a patent requires little more than paying a filing fee and submitting the idea to a clerk.

Have a good cookie recipe? Congratulations, for only $495 you can patent the recipe. This does not mean that your cookies are tasty.

But Sam and Eyal systematically convinced consumers by stating, “The United States Patent Office would not have given us a patent unless we could have proven that our trading strategy is legitimate.”

Once again, this is a blatantly fraudulent misrepresentation.

During the first several years of refining the sales pitch, and subsequently ripping off consumers for millions of dollars, they next devised the franchise scheme of replicating the fraud, and teaching others how to also rip off consumers.

The Franchise Scheme

In order for the fraud to be perfectly executed, Sam and Eyal discovered that the “key to the con” was in the perfect presentation.

It is one thing to sell a fraudulent product to faceless people over the internet. It is an entirely different thing when you can isolate the victim in a sales office, staffed with actors portraying themselves as professional day traders.

The magic happened when people were lured into the spider web of the fancy office, and presented with fraudulent information from highly trained “closers.”

Sam and Eyal perfected the sales pitch into what can best be described as “the perfect fraud” according to sources.

Additionally, they specialized in finding high-pressure salespeople with long histories of selling dubious products and services.

The key was to “polish the turd.” In other words, take a person with no financial qualifications, but with experience in selling used cars, vacuum cleaners, or timeshares and then give them the appearance of a “professional day trader.”

Professional Trader? Nope.
Former Male Porn Actor? Most definitely!

In essence, they were perfecting the art of replicating themselves. Like a virus that invades the host, changes the cell structure, and then releases itself unto the host until the host is completely consumed.

Sam Seiden and Eyal Shachar are not too different than the coronavirus in that they consume their victims, and then teach others how to yet consume more victims.

It worked well. Until the vaccine showed up.

Federal Trade Commission: The Undercover Investigators

Vaccines are a medical marvel. They serve one purpose, to track down a virus and destroy it. Some vaccines disguise themselves as weakened versions of a virus, which triggers the body into producing antibodies.

And yet other vaccines disguise themselves as potential victims in which the target virus unwittingly consumes — only to quickly discover that the vaccine implodes within the virus. Thereby destroying it.

In approximately 2018 and 2019, the United States Federal Trade Commission decided to finally take action against the Online Trading Academy. But how?

According to court documents, several former salespeople bravely came forward and provided the exact blueprint of how Online Trading Academy was operating as a sort of “viral franchise scam”.

They described that the “magic” of the $60,000 sales pitch was in isolating the victim within the inner sales chambers at sales offices and then making verbal communications that would be fraudulent, but hard to prove.

Online Trading Academy was clever in teaching the “closers” that the magical sales pitch should be fraudulent in form but concealed and presented only behind closed doors.

With this information, the Federal Trade Commission then armed a team of investigators with the needed information to worm themselves into these fraudulent sales presentations.

In short, investigators infiltrated several of the franchise operations and secretly recorded everything. What they found was unimaginable fraud and misrepresentation.

The Lies, the Fraud, the Misrepresentation

According to Federal Trade Commission investigative reports and submitted affidavits of secret investigators, the highly-trained closers within this financial slaughterhouse made the following fraudulent statements and actions…

All of the “closers” were instructed on how to present themselves as “professional day traders.”

They were encouraged to tell stories of how they typically earned hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from day trading. That they owned expensive sports cars, lived in expensive neighborhoods, and that their kids attended private academies and Universities.

All were lies.

That they traveled the world on private yachts, visited castles (yes, actually visited castles), enjoyed parasailing, giving generously to charity, and buying homes and cars for family members.

All were lies.

They were encouraged to tell stories that nearly all of the students of the $60k education were now earning between $50k to $250k in their very first year. That nearly anyone with a $5k account was virtually guaranteed to double the account, each and every month.

That they could expect to work only an hour each day.

The secret of the sales pitch all played within the storyline of the “patented trading strategy.” All a consumer needed to do was click the button when the software said “buy” and then click the button when the software said “sell.”

They showed victims copies of the patent and declared they have proven to the United States Government that “this is real, we had to prove it, else they would not have given us the patent.”

They portrayed the trading system as a virtual ATM or printing press where money could be obtained with simplicity and ease. But in order to obtain the secret trading strategy, you must pay a fee of $60k.

Of course, they would also finance the cost with a loan at 18% interest that needed to be paid back within 6 months. But assured that nearly everyone paid it back within 6 months with the profits generated with the “patented trading strategy.”

They encouraged elderly victims to sell their stock portfolios to pay the fee, encouraged them to take a second mortgage, or borrow from a family friend. They were clever, deceitful, and absolutely horrifying.

Additionally, they also maintained a relationship with TradeStation Securities in Miami Florida. They would push their victims to TradeStation to open trading accounts and be paid yet more fees and incentives to direct the victims to TradeStation.

Audited TradeStation Accounts: The Big Reveal

But the Federal Trade Commission was thorough…they subpoenaed TradeStation Securities.

The Federal subpoena was clear. The FTC wanted the names, addresses, phone numbers, and most importantly…the account statements of each and every victim of Online Trading Academy.

The FTC then proceeded to analyze the account statements of each and every victim. What they found was discouraging.

According to court records, the Federal Trade Commission individually analyzed 4,799 trading accounts.

The average account size varied between $5k to $15k. Of all of these accounts, 74.9% of the accounts lost an average of 94%.

Typically, the accounts were drained to nothing within 6-months. Which seems to perfectly match when consumers were required to pay off their $60k debt, at 18% interest.

Consumers that refused to pay, or could not pay were threatened with lawsuits and negative credit reporting.

One victim, in particular, lost his entire life savings of $1,364,337.

The Federal Trade Commission submitted “victim impact statements” from multiple parties and their stories are heartbreaking.

Many people were driven to bankruptcy, had to defend lawsuits for posting negative reviews on YouTube, were constantly harassed and threatened by creditors and lawyers working for Online Trading Academy, and the list goes on and on.

This was truly a nightmare scenario for nearly all. But a glimmer of hope for just a few as the FTC immediately halted Online Trading Academy from attempting to collect these debts, attempting to foreclose on homes, and otherwise further harassing the victims.

Wrappings Things Up

Well, this article took much more time than expected. Thanks for making it this far.

The thing that drives me most crazy is that the Federal Government is still only willing to proceed with civil actions. Not willing to push for criminal prosecution.

Undoubtedly, what these charlatans and con artists pulled off were criminal in nature. They should be jailed. And they should be jailed for the remainder of their lives. What they have committed over the past decade is to simply destroy the lives of thousands of innocent people.

The declarations of victims, contained with the complaint of the lawsuit is truly heartbreaking.

Once again, thanks for reading. And a big thanks to our sponsors and advertisers of TradingSchools.Org. Without your generous support, we would not be able to keep the reviews cranking out.

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ota student with no mercyLIZRufusaChuckPAlan Recent comment authors

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ota student with no mercy
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ota student with no mercy

I will say this… probably their sales tactics changed but in my experience it was straight forward pay for what you want, however I found the strategy decent but did not work in all assets as they claimed. I took it upon myself to further my education on my own and its been a long road. Fxcm was booted they almost blew up my account and the strategy FAILED me there. the instructors didn’t help when it came to fx because that was not an asset they really traded. during 1 class online i critiqued the instructors strategy as being… Read more »

ChuckP
Guest
ChuckP

Mr. Moore claims on the about page of this website 1) that he writes reviews 2) that he will “relentlessly search for the truth” First, the post he made about OTA can not be called a review because he has never taken a single course from OTA. This is the same as if a TV reviewer reviewed a sitcom without ever having watched it, or a food critic reviewing a restaurant without ever having tasted the food. I consider Consumer Reports to the the gold standard in reviews. They are totally independent. They buy every product they review. They have… Read more »

Alan
Guest
Alan

I went to one of their free 3-hour trading courses. I am an experienced trader. This place put up so many red flags in their presentation it was obvious a major shakedown fraud operation. Period. No question about it. Who paid you for your comment?

ChuckP
Guest
ChuckP

No one paid me. Everything I said, I said because it it true.

LIZ
Guest
LIZ

Alan you are closed minded if a simple presentation scares you off. I am also an OTA student since 2015 and it has been a blessing joining OTA. I agree with ChuckP this article is a piece of crap put together by some reporter that was told rumors. OTA works and anyone that says otherwise are those that do not want to put in the time it takes to learn. This is financial education and is not meant to be a get rich quick or exciting process and OTA clearly explains to their students. If you want something that requires… Read more »

Rufusa
Guest
Rufusa

So that’s why I stopped receiving junk mail from OTA, after I canceled a scheduled seminar, at a local hotel.

Good.

Baruj - Reptilian
Guest
Baruj - Reptilian

This article is so dum. OTA DOES nkt ask 60k to start trading or entering THEIR SCHOOL – it is 9k for their patenetdd strategy and 9K FOR ANY OTHER asset class that ud like to have FUTURES – forex – options or stocks- IF UR STUPID ENOUGH TO WANT THEM ALL and have the time to learn all 4 markets then u pay the sum of 5ok obiously.. but u have to have time TO ACTUALLY DEDICTE URSELF TO IT ppl went and bought bought but then what happened… Why dont u get people that have been sucesfull in… Read more »

Scooter
Guest
Scooter

Two words: spell check

Crixus
Guest
Crixus

Im from NEW YORK – and give u 5 words

i dont Give a fu**

jstew
Guest
jstew

your response contributes absolutely nothing.

QUENTIN STAPLES
Guest
QUENTIN STAPLES

You’re the MAN bro!!! Truth makes people scatter like roaches when the light is turned on. I guess the streets do give a better education!!! Dumb ass, brain washed, misguided, miseducated sheep mutherfukkas. Streets teach you that you have to EARN EVERYTHING and NOTHING is EASY. People want to put success in a microwave for 5 minutes…不不不不不 #BlameGame #PowerOfPrivilege 丑 #SouthJamaicaQueens #QGTM #TradeOrDie #PipGetterz #OTAAtl

Kenney
Guest
Kenney

That is how they charge now but in 2016 it was different. You did not leave without paying $30K for three courses plus the “Professional Trader” (now known as Core Strategy). That was the minimum. If you wanted Master Mind it was $60K

Alan
Guest
Alan

Why then is the FTC investigating OTA?

LIZ
Guest
LIZ

Baruj I agree with you 100% I am an OTA student and OTA has been a blessing!!! #SAVEOTA

LIZ
Guest
LIZ

A protest would help so much in this case the judge is only listening to the FTC. We need to show the judge the FTC is wrong. Students need to standup for OTA and make noise so we can be noticed.

Christian Lane
Guest
Christian Lane

This article is absolutely absurd. No validity, no research, and the author has no idea what they are talking about. I’ve been a student with OTA for a few years now and have nothing but great things to say about OTA. I wonder if the author tried OTA and didn’t put in the effort to learn, lost money in the market, and then wanted to publicly whine and misrepresent what OTA is all about. Absolutely ridiculous.

Rufusa
Guest
Rufusa

So, the FTC is lying, huh?

liz
Guest
liz

there is so much more to the story than the FTC want you to know. The FTC does not want to give OTA a day in court and is trying to shut it down before they get a chance to defend themselves in court along with us the students. The FTC does not want the students to be heard because there are thousands of us that have actually put in the work to learn the program and are successful. It takes patience and attention to detail to be successful and many do not have what it takes to get there.… Read more »

Rufusa
Guest
Rufusa

You comment makes no sense. OTA will get its day in court.

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2020/02/ftc-sues-online-trading-academy-running-investment-training

What a part of the press release is incorrect?

I have no dog in this fight. I never enrolled in OTA, because my due diligence led me to believe the program is BS.

LIZ
Guest
LIZ

I have already read that article. Dont believe everything you hear on the news. I am a student and I am following the case. This press release talks about (earnings claims, advertises income, instructors claims of amassing wealth, misrepresents is has a patented strategy)… funny way to exaggerate, non of this is true. The classes start are as low as 10,000 and up to 50,000 and they advise to start with the minimum and work your way up. They never made earnings claims or promised any results they do have a strategy but in no way did they mention it… Read more »

liz
Guest
liz

agreed Christian

Derrick
Guest
Derrick

I WANT MY MONEY BACK FROM THESE CON ARTIST!

Christian Lane
Guest
Christian Lane

How are they con artists? Honestly.

dtchurn
Guest
dtchurn

‘Derrick’, you and presumably everyone else over the years who were scammed by this OTA shamshow need to report your case to the FTC, contact Emmett etc. to help be part of the class action lawsuit. Their scam is egregious and even outdated compared to today’s shamshows with all the upselling to multiple tens of thousands. Considering all their stuff is just regurgitated crap easily found for free on the web in this day and age of the tradeucation wild west. And then que in the shills posting now, lol. If they’d hadn’t heard of tradingschools before, usually they assume… Read more »

liz
Guest
liz

there is so much more to the story than the FTC want you to know. The FTC does not want to give OTA a day in court and is trying to shut it down before they get a chance to defend themselves in court along with the thousands of students. The FTC does not want the students to be heard because there are thousands of us that have actually put in the work to learn the program and are successful. If the FTC is right then it wouldn’t have a problem going to court and prove its case. Why try… Read more »

Concerned Trader and student
Guest
Concerned Trader and student

This article is filled with fallacies. While the basis of OTA’s teachings is now Seiden’s Supply and Demand strategy, it was not always that way. Sam did not join OTA until 2007. The company was founded by Eyal Shachar and a former partner in 1998. They were running a trading floor with a mix of prop trading and individual traders. Sam did not start the school nor was he even involved until it had been operating for 10 years. The school popped up as a result of a need to better educate and train the traders coming to the floor… Read more »

Alan
Guest
Alan

Supply and demand is a bogus strategy. Virtually all stocks have enough float on outstanding shares to have plenty of shares to buy. So never a lack in supply. Buying and selling drives stock prices, not supply and demand. That was the first red flag OTC throws up in their free 3-hour class. Sieden is a con man scamming ignorant people.

Erica Smith
Guest
Erica Smith

Insightful article, although I agree that the author seems to reiterate the FTC filings. Trading schools.org has made a statement that they will write only truthful reviews. It is hard to know the other side of the story, if you go to Trading Academy.com/jointhefight another side is presented. Is the author in fact a student who has consumed the education? If not then this can not be a truthful honest review, but ones personal opinion. Which he is entitled to.

Michael Koziel
Guest
Michael Koziel

Thank you FTC. It;s about time. I was a member to find out from an institutional trader that they are what you found out to be.