Meet Larry and Grace Hong, both “full-time professional day traders.” A married couple living in the upscale, tony neighborhood of Clyde Hill, Washington. They live the life of dreams. A 9,000 square foot mansion; a 45-foot yacht; multiple high-end vehicles, such as BMW’s, a Maserati, a Lamborghini; lavish vacations all over the world; expensive and extravagant birthday parties for their children.
All because of the amazing ability to quickly buy and sell futures contracts. With their super-secret trading indicators, they are masters of the day trading world. Everyone wants to be like them. Have a look at their dream lifestyle…
Doesn’t it all look so perfect? Wouldn’t you like to be able to be able to “micro-scalp” futures all day, earning millions of dollars each year? Living the dream.
Of course, we have seen this sort of fantasy lifestyle before. Whether it be the stories of Timothy Sykes and how he supposedly turned his Bar Mitzvah money into $4.3 million dollars overnight day trading penny stocks. Or his supposed students, earning millions of dollars after purchasing ‘secret wisdom’ from an investment DVD. Or Cameron Fous and his supposed millions of dollars in trading profits, with expensive cars and beautiful women on yachts, and parties with adulating fans. Or Ross Cameron whom supposedly was an Architect that was never an Architect and turned $1k into $500k in a few months by day trading. Or Kunal Desai the douchebag with his sports cars and fake hedge fund suckering in the naive and financially desperate.
All of this ‘lifestyle marketing’ or what I like to call trader porn. Where you create the illusion of success with cars, mansions, yachts, private jets, jewelry, bundles of cash, exotic vacations, and of course pictures of unlimited shrimp cocktail.
All of these shiny objects were obtained by investing with a supposed magical trading indicator, trading system, day trading educational package, or a supposed hedge fund promising 2,000% monthly returns.
Larry And Grace Hong, the Day Trading Fraudsters
Now let’s talk about Larry and Grace Hong. On the surface, they look so amazing together, a picturesque family. This day trading, dynamic duo. All of it looked so wonderful. Except it was all a fraud. The supposed day trading profits were all a con.
On June 8, 2017, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations lowered the boom. Both Larry and Grace were handcuffed and taken to jail for investment fraud. The size of the fraud appears to be about $11,000,000.
How did they execute the fraud? By attending churches throughout Washington and California, they befriended the Pastor and convinced the Pastor to invest in their supposed day trading, investment advisory. Once the Pastor was hooked with falsified trading results, they would then convince the Pastor to lead his flock directly into the financial slaughterhouse.
Larry and Grace would get up in front of the church goers, pray to Jesus, hold hands and cry out to the Lord, and then make their sales pitch of day trading glory and amazing investment returns.
Amazingly, the pastor even proclaimed that anyone that had invested $1 million in 2001, by 2011, would now have over $57 million dollars. Anointing the fraudsters with precious oil–snake oil.
Of course, the dipshit Pastors, with the respect, trust, and admiration of the flock were all too happy to help distribute the promotional materials and financial documents that churchgoers had to complete in order to invest in the scheme. Sort of like a reverse tithe.
The flock, unwittingly allowed Grace and Larry Hong the ability to trade on their behalf, through their individual investment accounts. Of course, massive losses ensued. One person lost $100k in a single day. Another person lost $300k on a single trade.
To make matters worse, Grace and Larry Hong included fine print in the investment contract which allowed them to withdraw 25% of the account balance, as a quarterly performance and management fee. And this was regardless of whether the account was profitable or not. Think about this a moment…churchgoers signed a contract, with the blessings and encouragement of the Pastor, allowed Grace and Larry Hong to withdraw 25% every quarter, regardless of the investment performance. Is this the craziest thing you have ever read? Apparently, all true.
This is “drinking the Kool-Aid” as its finest!
As crazy as this all sounds, it gets even stranger. Thanks to the helpful folks at the Department Of Justice, they provided TradingSchools.Org with a deeper history and understanding of Larry Hong, aka Laurence Hong, aka Lawrence Hung, aka Sung Hung, also known as a repeat offender and serial financial rapist.
Apparently, “Lawrence” began his day trading investment fraud as far back as 1997 where he ripped off his mothers’ accountant for $100,000 in a day trading scheme named Republic Investment.
In 2001, Larry Hong bilked a Korean-American family and another person he met at a local church in Bellevue Washington for $200,000. You guessed it, another day trading scam.
And finally, in 2007, the FBI arrested Hong for fraud and extortion for bilking his retired next door neighbor for $800,000. You guessed it, another day trading investment scam.
What happened to the $800,000 that Hong scammed from his elderly, retired neighbor? A 32-foot yacht; a down payment for a multimillion dollar lakefront mansion; and several luxury sports cars. Simply amazing.
The judge wasn’t impressed. In 2008, Hong was sentenced 33 months in Federal Prison.
History Repeats Itself
After being released in 2011, Hong gets out of Federal Prison and what does he do? Goes right back to local churches and starts befriending any Pastor willing to listen to his potent mixture of day trading investment skills and loyal devotion to Jesus. In fact, Jesus played an integral part in his supposed trading ability. God was using him to shower riches upon the Pastor and his flock. So he said.
Like all Ponzi schemes, the day of collapse inevitably arrives. And subsequently, Larry Hong is back in jail. Where he belongs.
Wrapping Things Up
Thanks for taking the time to read this story. I wanted to thank Alison Grande of Kiro7 local news located in Seattle, Washington. Alison reported on this story and produced the following video that briefly details the scam.
Also, I wanted to thank the Department of Justice for providing useful tips on what I should write about, providing a back story on Larry and Grace Hong, and helping to distribute this story to a wider audience. Hopefully, the story gains traction beyond just the local news in Seattle.
Thanks for reading, would love to read your opinion below.