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HomeEconomyThe Pretzel Plot: How One Fast-Food Worker's Stock Market 'Joke' Turned Heads

The Pretzel Plot: How One Fast-Food Worker’s Stock Market ‘Joke’ Turned Heads

A part-time pretzel shop worker on a modest income, a million-dollar scheme, and a rollercoaster ride in the stock market. Sounds like a Hollywood script? Not quite. It’s the curious case of a 23-year-old’s brief brush with the world of high-stake investments.

Deyonte Jahtori Anthony, an employee at Auntie Anne’s in North Carolina, hatched a seemingly foolproof plan. By allegedly exaggerating his annual earnings and initiating unfunded deposits of $1 million, he managed to trick his online broker into handing him a cool $200,000 in immediate credit.

Now, what’s a guy with unexpected cash to do? Dive headfirst into the stock market, of course. In just a day, Anthony strategically dispersed his credit across an array of stocks. He injected a sizable $85,000 into Apple and a whopping $78,000 into GameStop, while also betting on Nvidia, AMC Entertainment, Tesla, and a handful of other stocks and ETFs. If you’re familiar with the term “meme stocks”, you’ll recognize names like GameStop and AMC. These stocks had earlier taken the market by storm, surging dramatically due to retail investors’ coordinated buying actions. Moreover, Tesla and Nvidia, boasting ardent followers, have seen their stock prices surge, thanks to the budding AI industry.

However, as quick as his meteoric rise in the trading world was, his downfall was even swifter. The broker, on spotting the alleged ruse, promptly froze Anthony’s account and liquidated all his holdings. But here’s the twist: In that brief window, almost all of Anthony’s trades turned profitable. The broker walked away with an unexpected profit of around $7,000, including handsome returns on investments like GameStop, Apple, and Nvidia.

As for Anthony? He couldn’t cash out a dime. His ambitious ploy unraveled when his deposits bounced back due to insufficient funds. Adding to his woes, he lost his job at Auntie Anne’s shortly after. When confronted, Anthony’s defense was that he considered the entire episode “a joke”, never truly viewing it as fraud.

Regulators have labeled this tactic a “free-riding” scheme, where traders exploit advanced credit, hoping to pocket profits before any discrepancies are noticed. The SEC, taking a dim view of the episode aims to impose trading restrictions on Anthony and mandate full disclosure of this incident for any future brokerage accounts he might open.

For entrepreneurs and investors, this tale serves as a colorful reminder: while the allure of quick riches in the stock market can be tempting, it’s always best to play by the rules. In the world of high stakes, shortcuts can sometimes lead to shortfalls.