School Of Trade
From top to bottom, a complete and total scam. A well oiled marketing machine with only one purpose...to hustle you out of $5,000. Joseph and Megan James are two of the biggest frauds that I have ever written about. Joseph James is a sneaky, manipulative, con artist that claims to earn $50,000 each month trading, with zero losing months, and zero losing days. Absolutely no proof that this shady hustler even has a trading account. Both James and Megan seek out the most vulnerable trading newbie that they can find, and then systematically suck them dry of money. The worst of the worst. AVOID.
Thanks for reading today’s review of School Of Trade and Sideways Markets
What is School Of Trade and Sideways Markets? The companies are a day trading educational business that specializes in teaching traders how to day trade the futures markets. The companies were both founded and are currently managed by a husband and wife team named Joseph James and his wife Megan James. The websites are essentially the same, offering the same products, however the website SidewaysMarkets.com appears to be a blog with more pages and information.
In addition to the SchoolOfTrade.com and SidewaysMarkets.com websites, this company publishes a large amount of videos on YouTube.com. A quick search of YouTube shows that the School Of Trade YouTube channel was founded in 2008, and it currently has over 12,000 subscribers and over 2,100,000 views. There are quite literally hundreds of videos that supposedly show live day trading, in real time. In addition to the massive amount of videos purporting to show live day trading, there are also longer videos that show not only live day trading, but also videos of Joseph James stating that he is earning thousands of dollars each week with his day trading.
A quick check of Archive.org shows that the company launched in 2009.
A detailed search using SEM Rush web analytic’s reveals that in addition to SchoolOfTrade, SidewaysMarkets, and the YouTube channel, Mr James has also developed and is attempting to capture all reported aspects of his online reputation. What does this mean? Simply put, Mr James has registered a cadre of websites and created specialized content that purports his amazingly trading abilities. Mr James understands that as a person is vetting his trading products and his trading school, these persons will also Google search terms relating to his reputation. Its a clever attempt to corral and capture public opinion. Some of these websites include SchoolOfTrade-Review.com, SchoolOfTradeReview.com, SchoolOfTrade-review-e-mini-russell.com, SchoolOfTrade-review-euro-currency-futures.com. The list is quite extensive.
Overall, I would give Mr. James excellent marks at how to generate a consistent flow of free web traffic. In fact, he ranks highly for some of the most coveted and expensive Google keywords relating to day trading. Using SEM Rush analytic’s, if a person wanted to replicate the free organic traffic flow that Mr. James now enjoys, a person would have to comparatively spend over $5,000 each month on Google adwords. Consider this for a moment, and let me put this into perspective…suppose that you are competing with Mr. James, and both of you offer a trading educational product, in order for your product to be seen by a comparative number of prospective purchasers, you would need to spend over $5,000 each month in advertising fees. This is a huge advantage for Mr. James. He understands online marketing very well.
Is there a correlation between marketing and a high quality product? In other words, is Mr. James trading products any better than the competition? It does not matter, the only thing that matters is how many eyeballs that Mr. James attract to his product. Google does not know whether a product is good or not good. However, since Mr. James is appearing so often in Google and YouTube searches, then this leads to an implied credibility, simply because Google is showing the material to a large audience.
One of the problems that I too often hear from various trading vendors is how incredibly difficult it is to be found on the internet. A trading vendor can have an amazing trading room that would be an awesome addition to the trading community, but slick and savvy marketers like Mr. James have figured out how to get their products placed higher in the Google search pages. Hats off to Mr. James! One hell of an online marketer. But does he have a good trading product?
School Of Trade Education Product
The cost of the SchoolOfTrade is $4,999. This includes a bunch of instructional videos, educational materials, and a live day trading room. Normally, when I gather evidence to write a review, a major portion of that evidence comes in the form of Camtasia screen recordings of the live trading room, typically a minimum of two weeks of watching and recording live trades. However, with SchoolOfTrade.com, there is no free trial of the live day trading room. If you go to their website, you will see a “Free Pass” to attend the live trading room, however once a person submits an email address, then they will be guided to a daily webinar, and not a “Live Trade Room”.
The daily webinar is supposed to be a Live Day Trading Room, with real trading happening. Anyone that registers can attend from Monday – Thursday at 2pm EST. In total, I recorded 4 of these live day trading exhibitions, normally this is where I collect hard evidence. However, at no time during the daily webinars did I ever witness any trading whatsoever. What did I witness? Every single of one of these live trading room exhibitions are nothing more than a very well rehearsed and well scripted sales presentation. Mr. James has been selling trading products for many years, after you have watched several of these sales presentations in a row, you will quickly realize that the live day trading room is nothing more than a 60-90 minute sales presentation. A very well scripted and rehearsed online infomercial.
Admittedly, Mr. James is an extremely clever salesman. As I watched his daily sales performances, I began to realize that this person is extremely talented at “selling the dream” of becoming a professional day trader. He presents well chosen, and well worn examples about how he consistently and very easily pulls thousands of dollars out of the markets on a daily basis. The presentation is very compelling, almost hypnotic.
Zero Track Record
One of the things that you will not find on any of Mr. James websites is an official track record of his trading. There is simply nothing mentioned as to how much money this guys claims to make each month with his day trading. I found this to be interesting, how does a person assign value to this trading product? How does a person establish credibility with this person? It appears that Mr. James uses a two pronged approach into diverting attention away from the glaring question as to whether he is actually a successful day trader. The first is his marvelous salesmanship. I would consider myself a pretty good salesman that hustled suckers out of millions of dollars, but Mr. James is right there with the best hustlers that I know. Its a great skill to have, but its also something that can be abused and cause others a great deal of pain and misery. Mr. James is extremely manipulative.
In addition to Mr. James amazing salesmanship and being a manipulative wordsmith, he is very clever at producing You Tube videos that hint and tease of his ability to create massive profits while day trading. A quick look at his YouTube channel, and you will find that every video contains snippets, references, and video playbacks of Mr. James nailing yet another winning trade. There are hundreds of these videos, I cannot find a single video where Mr. James loses money. Every video, hundreds of them, all show amazing profits and easy money to be made.
Lets take a quick look at the following video that was recently published on YouTube. Notice how the video is very short and shows a “winning trade”. The video purports to show a “live trade” that is happening in real time. However, this video is certainly nothing more than a replay of prior market action. In other words, Mr. James combs through previously recorded market data, looking for situations where the market made a strong move. He then uses market replay within Ninja Trader and overlays a simulated order on top of the market data. Since he already knows where the market is going to go, then Mr. James trades are always a guaranteed winner. He is attempting to create the illusion that he is taking a live trade, when in reality, this is just a sleight of hand. The newbie day trader with little experience is going to watch this video and be mesmerized at the quickness of his profits. But those of us that have been around can quickly spot the fraud. Take a look:
A person with little experience at trading is going to stumble into one of hundreds of these types of videos that Mr. James publishes on YouTube, and he is going to be lured into the scheme. And lets be honest at what this is…this is a scheme. A blatant fraud. In addition to this being a fraudulent misrepresentation of Mr. James and The School Of Trade, Mr. James also needs to include in each and every one of his marketing videos the requisite disclaimers that clearly state that this is not actual trading. Each and every one of these videos carries a fine of $10,000 from the CFTC, or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. I personally find this type of behavior as outrageous and disgusting. While the majority within the trading education community are attempting to comply by showing the proper set of disclosures, it appears that Mr. James has zero respect for the criminal investigative body that monitors activities such as these.
On several occasions, I contacted both Mr. James and his wife, Megan James via telephone (conversations recorded) and requested proof that these trades actually were executed in real time. Megan James assured me that her husband is in fact trading live, with a real money account, and that all of his published YouTube videos correspond with a live trading account. However, she refuses to proffer a statement from a broker that substantiates the veracity of her husbands claims of trading success. I explained to her that I was simply looking for proof. She explained that she would be more than happy to “show something” to truly interested parties. And she went on to explain that if she were to show her husbands trading statements, then a person might perhaps use these trading statements to get a loan, or steal their identity. I very kindly requested that she simply redact all records of names, account numbers, addresses, or any other identifying information and that I was only looking for fills since the beginning of the year. Once again, she refused. Her most prescient response was, “we don’t want that type of information getting out there”.
I explained to Mrs. James that she is requesting that I send her $5,000 for her trading course, all based upon trust. Yet, she does not trust me enough to provide proof that her husband trades successfully. Amazing! I assure you Megan James, I have no interest in using your account statements to buy a car or get a home loan. She simply refuses to budge.
Next, I requested that she admit me to the live day trading room, where actual trading is supposedly happening, not the sales presentation room. That watching her husband trade, in a live environment would suffice as evidence of his trading prowess. Once again she refused and explained that his methods were “very secret” and that I could figure out his magic. However, she did explain that she would allow me to watch her husband trade, but only after I had paid my $5,000 education fee (non refundable).
If you are still reading this, you are probably flabbergasted at the outrageously fraudulent and ridiculous behavior of these charlatans. They offer zero proof of success and demand $5,000 to get a peak behind the curtain, where there is supposedly live trading. It makes you wonder how these two con artists pull off this scheme with such regularity and deftness.
Joseph and Megan James: How they execute the fraud
Over the past year, I have written about quite a few con artists selling fraudulent trading products over the internet. My usual mode and method for uncovering such frauds is by attending the live trading room, and screen recording the activities. After a couple of weeks, it is usually pretty easy at uncovering and exposing the fraud. However, it is also labor intensive. Several weeks of video must be recorded, and then the video has to be reviewed and each trade needs to be marked and recorded into a spreadsheet. In addition to capturing and recording the trades, I also look for limit order fraud, where the trading room moderator fraudulently represents his fills. Sometimes the frauds appear in the form of “mystery meat”, where the official track record will include trades that are stuffed into the track record, usually after market hours when nobody is looking. I have seen it all. The School Of Trade and Sideways markets is a different sort of fraud, and it was difficult to build my case.
Consider this, the SchoolOfTrade and Sideways Markets do not trade live for an audience. The only way to witness live trading is to spend $5,000 in non refundable fee’s. This presented a major problem for me, how would I tease out the evidence? Also, SchoolOfTrade and Sideways Markets refuses to publish an official track record for trades called inside of the live trading room. How do I validate those trades? In addition, Mr. James and Mrs. James refuse to show redacted account statements, how do I prove that they are or are not trading with a live account? All of this presented a great challenge, and it took me over 6 months to unravel the mystery.
Over the past year, I have received over 80 requests to review the SchoolOfTrade and Sideways Markets. Out of these 80 requests to review, nearly a dozen where actually paid customers of Mr. and Mrs. James, that had contacted me and hoped that I could expose Joseph James and Megan James as frauds. Some of these folks were quite angry and belligerent. Some were simply hurt and felt taken advantage of, most just wanted to forget the bad experience. One gentleman in particular claimed to have lost over $125,000 in an attempt to replicate Mr. James trading, wiping out his entire life savings. Another had taken Joseph James and Megan James to court, successfully sued for fraud and was awarded $2,265. The judgement is below:
Unfortunately, after Joseph and Megan began feeling the heat of lawsuits, and threats from angry customers, they quickly shut down their mailbox located in the Los Angeles area and moved to a new address in Delaware, which is a state notoriously liberal on corporate privacy. This is a very deliberate attempt to conceal themselves, and their physical location.
Another extremely pissed off customer of Joseph and Megan James dedicated a small and angry portion of the internet on exposing Joseph and Megan as frauds and charlatans. You can find some of his websites and information at the following web address. This poor guy got really hammered and is extremely pissed off. His name is Lloyd Hopkins and he owns a company named Interlink Software, I found him to be very credible and his personal story is very compelling. You can reach out to him directly at email@example.com. This guy is damn determined to see these two crooks prosecuted.
Another angry customer took to RipOffReport.com to express his anger. You can read the complaint here.
In total, I have personally interviewed nearly a dozen customers of Joseph James and Megan James. In all of these interviews, with actual paying customers, I was able to deconstruct how they are able to convince so many people to part with their hard earned $5,000.
How The Scam Works, Step By Step
The following is the exact sequence that each victim described to me in detail. This is how the fraud is executed.
Step One: the potential victim uses Google or YouTube in search of terms such as trading school, learn how to day trade, school for day traders, etc. The potential victim finds SchoolOfTrade or Sideways Markets. Both websites are heavily geared towards leading the victim to the YouTube channel. The YouTube channel contains hundreds, upon hundreds of supposedly live day trading success. The YouTube videos are very compelling.
Step Two: based upon the perceived legitimacy of the YouTube videos, the victim then signs up for the “Free Pass” to the live day trading room. The person arrives at the live day trading room expecting to see live day trading by Mr. James. Instead, the victim is given a 60-90 minute sales presentation that is well scripted and well rehearsed. This is where Mr. James and all of his skills of manipulation are put on full display.
Step Three: the victim will seek further proof that Mr. James is trading successfully and they will usually call Joseph or Megan on the telephone. Joseph or Megan will determine if the customer is serious about spending money. The victim will usually ask for some sort of proof that Joseph does in fact trade live. Joseph is prepared for this question and keeps a prepared “record of actual trades” that he will show, but only to those that he feels are close to spending money. Joseph and Megan show the following document to the victim, please notice how the document claims that all trades were made on LIVE ACCOUNTS.
Step Four: the victim, after viewing that Mr. James typically earns $50,000 each and every month, with NO LOSING MONTHS and NO LOSING DAYS is now very excited about the prospect of paying $5,000 to learn Mr. James trading methods and easily earn at least $50,000 each month. Mr. James is very reassuring that these returns will be easy to obtain, all they need to do is attend the live day trading room and copy his trades. The victim then signs up, usually they pay in monthly installments such as the following:
Step Five: after the victim has made their initial payment, they are next instructed to begin watching a series of educational videos, open a NinjaBroker.com account and are given access to the live day trading room. The victim usually spends the next two weeks absorbing the educational videos and reading the materials.
Step Six: the victim now begins logging into the live day trading room and attempts to replicate the trades of Mr. James. The victim, over a course of several weeks begins to realize that no live trading is actually happening. Instead, there is only conversations regarding trading. No live DOM on screen, no trading from the charts, no accountability whatsoever. The victim then begins to realize that his results are not the same as Mr. James. They begin to learn that getting a limit order filled in their trading account is not the same as Mr. James simply shouting into the microphone that he got filled. In fact, this is the number one complaint from all of the victims of Joseph and Megan, that they cannot replicate the trades.
Step Seven: usually at about 3-5 months, the victim is losing money consistently and has continued to pay the monthly payments to Joseph and Megan James. The customer is now starting to realize that things are not adding up. The official track record was a fraudulent document, and they were hustled by a husband and wife team of con artists.
Step Eight: the client then attempts to recover the fee’s paid to Joseph and Megan. Instead, Joseph and Megan then turn over any uncollected fee’s to a credit collection agency which will then harrass the customer until they are paid. Many of the these victims are located outside of the United States and do not understand our laws and how to initiate a claim of fraud. Many are left with little recourse, are ashamed and simply disappear. Yet fewer have the courage to contact me directly, to tell their story, and to warn others of the fraud.
Were You Scammed By Joseph and Megan James?
I have good news for you. The document that Joseph used in the spreadsheet is definitely fraud and actionable. Mr. James clearly states on the bottom of the document that all of the trades are real trades with a real trading account. If the trading records of Mr. James are subpoenaed and he cannot produce brokerage statements that correspond with the spreadsheet, then there is little doubt that the CFTC will not refer this case to the FBI for criminal prosecution. In addition to mail and wire fraud, Megan and Joseph are also in clear violation of CFTC disclosures, in particular the use of YouTube videos that purport real trades without disclosing that these trades where actually hypothetical.
How do we get the CFTC to act on this? Quite simply, enough people need to immediately begin to fill out the following complaint form with the CFTC. You can find it here. The form only takes a few minutes to complete. After the form is submitted, approximately 10 to 14 days later, you will be contacted by a lawyer that works in the enforcement division. They will interview you, the process takes only a few minutes. They will then have you forward any and all pertinent information to their mailing address.
Please keep in mind that the CFTC enforcement lawyers are overworked, underpaid, and very much not appreciated. There is a massive amount of fraud committed each day. It is important that everyone file a complaint. The more complaints the better. Will the CFTC do anything? Truthfully, I am not sure. In several instances, enough complaints were filed and the company closed down within 12 weeks. In other instances, the CFTC did not take the case. If you are a victim, then file your report and do not wait!
Wrapping Things Up
This review was difficult because it had to be conducted on only interviews from victims. The collection of evidence took several months. And many of the victims simply did not want to drag up the past and relive painful old memories. Too often I heard, “I just want to forget that it ever happened”.
Many of the victims described a sense of shame. They were embarrassed and hurt and did not want their names published on a public blog. All of the victims described monetary loss at varied levels. Although I cannot confirm the amounts lost for each customer that got hustled, I can confirm that each experienced a great deal of pain at being swindled. This review was different for me, on a personal level, because I spent a great deal of time on the telephone. Many victims are located in foreign countries, speak in broken English, and attempting to express their pain and disappointment can be a challenge.
As each negative interview stacked up, and I heard the same repetitive story, over and over, it really hammered home to me how much harm Joseph and Megan James are causing honest people. Sometimes I wonder if Joseph and Megan have any soul, or any goodness in them? How can they, for all these years continue to operate as liars and frauds? At what point do people like this finally wake up and look at themselves, and see themselves for what they truly are…con artists, leeches.
In my opinion, people like Joseph and Megan do not simply and voluntarily shut down and go do something honest. They have to be taken down in a brutal manner. By people with hand cuffs and badges. They have to be dragged in front of a court room and be stripped down and exposed. They need to be locked inside of cages. In a place so foul and shameful that they are forced to see the truth about themselves.
Well that’s if for now. Sorry for such a long and dreadfully negative review. Don’t forget to leave your comments below. Even the hater trolls will find a warm a generous place in which to hurl insults at me or anyone else that disagrees with them.
One Final Note…I contacted Megan James on the telephone on November 15 and gave her plenty of advance notice that this negative review was coming, and it would not be pretty. I gave her one last chance to show me that Joseph is actually trading with a live account. And that his live account would be used to write a highly positive review. She refused. I even offered to pay her a flat $5,000 fee (non refundable) to see his trading records since January 1st, 2015. She refused my money. Amazing stuff folks.