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TradeMasters USA appeared to be a legitimate, trading system provider. However, on August 15 2016, the CFTC declared an emergency injunction against the company. Apparently, the huge returns and massive profits were all a fraud. The account statements that the owner of the company provided to prospective purchasers of the system were all faked, cherry picked, and fraudulent. It turns out that the owner of the company, prior to 2013 had never traded a day in his life. However, Ninja Trader brokerage and Ninja Trader Ecosystem trumpeted his supposed success and legitimacy. A complete and total fraud.
Thanks for reading today’s review of TradeMasters USA
What is TradeMasters USA? The company is a trading system provider that works exclusively on the NinjaTrader platform. The cost of the system is $3,995, with an additional monthly subscription fee of $499 per month.
As per Archive.org, the company appears to have originated in late 2013.
The listed address for the company is 6550 South Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89123. However, a search of Google maps reveals that no such business currently occupies this address. However, you will find at this address, two legitimate businesses: The Hot and Juicy Crawfish Restaurant, and The Psychic Eye palm reading and bookstore.
The company maintains a prominent listing on the NinjaTrader Ecosystem website.
The TradeMastersUSA.com website reveals no information on whom actually owns the company.
Contacting TradeMasters USA
During the month of December, 2015 I reached out to TradeMasters USA via a series of emails and telephone calls. I explained that I was from TradingSchools.Org and that I would be writing a review. Unfortunately, the company ignored all emails and refused to return phone calls.
Several weeks later, I once again reached out to TradeMasters USA. However, this time I used an alias and described myself as a struggling trader and recently retiree. That I was looking to learn how to trade, supplement my fixed income, and sincerely needed help. Almost immediately, I began to receive responses from a person named Mick. He explained that he was a full time professional day trader of over 20 years, was a money manager, a hedge fund manager, and had mentored many traders successfully. He also explained that most of the students and purchasers of his trading system were currently, consistently earning between $5,000 and $30,000 per month in trading profits.
He also explained that he was one of the very few trading educators with 100% authentic trading account statements. And that we would be willing to share his account statements via screen share software to those that were sincerely interested in becoming a full time professional day trader. However, he would not be willing to email his account statements because he felt that it might break various laws and financial regulations. I explained that I would be more than willing to immediately send him the $3,995 system fee, but that I just needed to verify his performance claims. I explained that I had been burned in the past and that I just wanted some authenticity. He agree and very enthusiastically complained about the multitudes of scammers preying on the vulnerable.
Next we screen shared and Mick produced a spreadsheet with the following performance summary. He explained that this was his own actual trading performance, and it was 100% legit.
As you can see, this looks quite impressive. Only two losing months in the past two years. Month after month of positive returns. Everything looked great. But I explained to Mick that anyone could produce a fancy spreadsheet, what I needed to see where actual account statements. He said no problem.
Reviewing Account Statements
For the next 20 minutes, Mick began showing screen shots of various account statements from several different brokerages. Admittedly, some of the account statements seemed to match the performance summary. However, he was moving so rapidly and quickly shifting from account statement to account statement, that it was difficult to match the performance dates. It made no sense as to why he maintained several different brokerage accounts. As he quickly moved from statement to statement, the presentation had the feel of a street magicians card trick, where the card disappears and then quickly reappears in a different location.
The more I attempted to slow down, takes notes, and ask questions of what was being shown, the more Mick made me feel “slow”. As if “normal people” should be able to immediately see the legitimacy and value without such effort and examination. As much as I wanted to truly believe, something kept biting away, warning me that something was just not right.
I next explained to Mick that I needed an extra day to think it over, and that I would call the next day.
Closing the deal
The next day, I contacted Mick. But instead of looking for account statements, I decided to ask a few questions regarding the logic behind the trading system. And this is where the wheels began to come off the wagon.
Anyone that builds trading systems should be aware of terms like Profit Factor, Drawdown, Maximum Adverse Excursion, Distribution of Returns, etc. To my utter amazement, Mick was entirely ignorant of basic statistics, computer coding and trading system terminology. When asked which computer code he developed his trading system, he embarrassingly fumbled through the question and explained that he had a team of programmers that helped him. When asked about the logic behind the trading system, he stumbled into what can only be described as word stew. It was one of those embarrassing moments when an ignorant person makes a monumental attempt at sounding smart by piecing together fancy sounding words.
The red flags immediately went up. I was dealing with a fraud. This guy knew absolutely nothing about trading. My safety valve had always been the implied credibility of account statements, but this guy had suddenly destroyed that assumption. I was dealing with a true knucklehead that had somehow cobbled together these account statements, from god knows where, and had somehow stumbled upon a trading system from a 3rd party. He just packaged it up and sold it as his own Super Secret Trading System.
Next, I asked him if he had thought about getting a review from TradingSchools.Org. He got very upset and explained that TradingSchools.Org was just a “pay-to-play” website where you had to pay for a positive review. That the owner of that company was nothing more than a felon that had served time in prison for fraud (he finally said something truthful!). He refused to be extorted and manipulated by that crook. Secretly, I had a good laugh.
A positive review?
This past February, I flirted with the idea of giving TradeMastersUSA a semi-positive review. In spite of the extreme ignorance of the vendor, he was actually able to cobble together a few trading account statements. But in the end, I decided to not write anything at all. There were too many unanswered questions.
Many readers complain that I should not waste my time writing about these small trading vendors, its not really worth the time. They want to read about the bigger vendors. But I disagree. Even the small vendors deserve a review. In the case of TradeMasters USA, I felt it was just a matter of time before this guy blew up. Only a matter of time before his ignorance caught up to him. Apparently, I didn’t have to wait very long.
Commodities Futures Trading Commission
On August 15, 2016…the CFTC filed an emergency injunction against TradeMasters USA. Under court order, the company was frozen. The CFTC is alleging a massive fraud. The following is a pretty good read:TradeMasters USA complaints
If you read this, you must be pretty amazed. The following are a summary of the CFTC’s allegations:
- Account statements were falsified, some where “cherry picked” from actual customers
- The “real time” results were all fraudulent misrepresentations
- There were no “trading coaches with 20 years of trading experience”
- The testimonials were all provided by paid actors
- Prior to 2013, the owner of the company had never traded, nor had a trading account
- Owner of company admitted to CFTC investigators that he had purchased the system from another vendor
Wrapping things up
In total, Mick sold 36 copies of his magic trading software for a total sum of $155, 626. Some readers might be reading this and thinking to themselves, “its just 36 idiots that got suckered for $150k”. But I would like to counter this argument. Sure, its “only 36 people”, however think for a moment if the average person lost $10,000? Now we are talking about a serious amount of money.
What if one of the victims were your elderly father, or your spouse? And you discovered that Mick had convinced them, to allow him to trade their account, and them Mick promptly lost $50,000 of the families money. Most assuradely, this is probably what happened. Else the CFTC would not of stepped in so quickly.
Perhaps the CFTC is going to start taking a stronger position against the amount of fraud that is mostly perpetrated and enabled by Ninja Trader? Perhaps this is the first in a wave of enforcement activity?
Well, that’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Sorry for yet another sad trading story. Don’t forget to leave a comment below.