Did UK Tabloids Get Duped by Binary Options Affiliates?

Major media outlets have been blindly posting articles about alleged binary options millionaires for months.

Have you ever dreamt of becoming rich real quick and allegedly very easily? If you haven’t, chances are that you know such stories are usually followed by a bout of unlucky occurrences which drive one’s fabulous wealth into the ground. These are the type of stories which the ‘yellow press’ loves to publish in order to generate more hits on online articles.

Join the industry leaders at the Finance Magnates London Summit, 14-15 November, 2016. Register here!

According to a variety of UK tabloid publications, including The Daily Mail, The Sun and The Metro, one such hero, Robert Mfune, has become the latest rich kid, purchasing a Bentley and painting it gold. Not only that, but he made his fortune while trading binary options. Even The Times has picked up on the story which is providing an in-depth look into the lavish lifestyle of Robert Mfune.

While he was having his car painted gold, he allegedly crashed a BMW M3 and claimed that he didn’t care too much about it.

A Binary Bentley Waiting for You in the Garage

The press photos (which we cannot display in this article due to terms of usage limitations) show a person allegedly called Robert Mfune, who trades binary options on a daily basis and makes money while doing it. The photos are displaying parts of a computer screen showing profitable binary options deals. He allegedly started his endeavor with binary options after working hard at McDonald’s.

Any professional from the industry knows how easily binary options account statements can be doctored, and how many binary options traders are profitable. Last but not least, even when they are profitable, they would have to be outperforming legendary trader Jesse Livermore by a huge margin in order to win enough for a Bentley after trading with their McDonald’s salary.

A slew of daily tabloid publications which went viral in the UK last week and which have been picked up by German and Israeli newspapers this week are showing little curiosity as to the real background of this story.

Robert Mfune, binary options
The Sun also picked up on the story – a Golden Binary Bentley – either he owns it or he doesn’t

All of the publications in the UK media have been crediting the images in the story to Caters News Agency, a website which from the looks of it specializes in creating entertaining stories with the potential to go viral. From a Russian family taking care of a bear that eats 25 kilos of food per day to heartwarming videos of orangutans, this news agency has it all when it comes to viral videos.

One notable section of its website however is the ‘got a story to sell?’ button on the homepage of the website.

story_to_sell
A screenshot from the website of Caters News Agency: Got a Story to Sell?

Binary Options Affiliates and Successful Business

Some of the articles which have been put out by the media mention that Robert Mfune is an entrepreneur. We couldn’t agree more – according to direct links to the trader’s Twitter and Instagram profiles he owns a binary options affiliate website.

On his website http://www.tradewithrobert.com Mfune claims: “I started trading at 16 years of age, I began trading Forex and then later realized that binary options were most profitable for me. Since that point I have focused all my tools and resources towards this type of trading and specialized in this field.”

We got curious and took our chances, signing up with the service. After less than a day, we received an email which claimed to be from Mr Mfune himself. Both emails we received were registered to a different domain name, which has no active website – RNCOGroup.com. After inspecting the official Instagram picture above, we can also see that the screenshot on the computer originates from a certain Isaac Cullinane, but more about him and his company 9ine.design later.

The first email we received immediately after registration contained links to five brokerages, one of which was explicitly mentioned to be accepting clients from the US – an endeavor which has already cost a lot to several brokerages who chose to ignore US regulatory authorities that forbid binary options trading in the country unless it is conducted on an exchange.

binary options usa
Screenshot of the reply of to our registration from the “Trade With Robert” affiliate website, including a solicitation to register with a broker that is accepting US clients

After opening an account with the sponsored links in the email, we were supposed to start receiving trading signals via WhatsApp.

The second email which we received after saying that we were ready to start receiving signals to check the service was allegedly from Robert himself – he introduced himself and in simple terms didn’t reveal anything about his relationship with the financial markets except that he knew how to make money and was going to show us, if we open an account via one of the affiliate links in the email.

Robert Mfune
Screenshot of Robert Mfune’s reply to our email asking him to send us some demo signals

 

Since we didn’t want to deposit and share personal data with any of the binary options brokers, we chose to reply by asking whether Robert was authorized by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority to provide investment advice. This time the email went silent – we received no reply after 4 days.

Not the First Blockbuster Trader With a Golden Car

What makes the story even less plausible is a signature style which has been used in similar articles throughout the web. Starting with a golden Lamborghini trader in January, which was picked up by UK tabloids just as easily, through to a trader with a golden Rolls Royce and culminating in Robert Mfune’s Bentley.

Speaking of Mfune’s Bentley, it is a 2004 Continental GT and costs online between £25,000 and £33,000 – not a very expensive car after all.

robert mfune, gold bentley
A screenshot of the license plate information of UKvehicle.com

All of the above have at some point crashed their cars and boasted how they don’t care about the results of their less than skillful driving. In January the story of 21-year old Elijah Oyefeso circulated throughout the UK media, where he stated that he gets his income from trading on the stock market.

An article by the Daily Mail states that he went on to fund a trading consultancy, which he uses to help beginner traders make money. As it turns out, this is yet another binary options affiliate website – DCT Trading Group http://www.dcttradinggroup.com/#dct

DCT Trading
DCT Trading, also welcoming US traders

In between these stories, a less circulated one has been published about the owner of a golden Rolls Royce going by the name of Adam Khan, who allegedly is a binary options trader and owns a fleet of golden cars. The same photos have been used in a story about a rich Saudi Arabian who has been displaying his gems across the streets of London.

Coincidentally or not, the websites of both Robert Mfune and Elijah Oyefeso have been created and the domains are owned by the same design agency in Southampton – 9INE (formerly known as ICEco Solutions) – which lists another binary options affiliate website as part of its portfolio: http://9ine.design/portfolio.

Robert Mfune
Robert Mfune, Resident and citizen of Zimbabwe, Source: Endole.co.uk

After checking the Linkedin profile of 9INE’s owner, Isaac Cullinane, who personal holds both of the aforementioned domains, reveals a very interesting fact: he seems to be a managing director in a company named Rich Forever LTD. A check of the public accounts of this firm reveals another interesting discovery: the company has two directors – Isaac himself and one Robert Mfune. Southampton is where the rich kid is allegedly from, however according to the official documents of incorporation listed by Endole.co.uk, Robert Mfune is a resident and citizen of Zimbabwe.

Going Viral at All Costs

With the story picking up interest from Finance Magnates we decided to reach out to the trader and perhaps ask him some more in depth questions about financial markets – to find out how much he really knows.

We proceeded to ring Caters News Agency and asked if it would be possible to connect with the trader and ask him some questions. After carefully listening to our request, a representative for the website has communicated that if we are interested in running a story we will have to pay for the pictures and the video used by the same UK tabloids – The Daily Mail, The Metro and The Sun.

After asking how much would we need to pay, the representative of Caters News Agency said that it depends on the number of pictures we use and whether we would like some videos too. When asked whether the other newspapers paid for the story, the sales rep replied that this is standard practice and that if we wanted to run our own version we would have to email the syndications department.

The story described above is a very serious matter – mainstream media has turned into a loudspeaker for all sorts of information with very few resources being dedicated to simple fact checking.

What proper journalists should be doing is conducting due diligence on every story and appropriately vetting their sources. On all of the occasions described above we have not seen a single question asked to any of the skillful traders that is actually related to what they do. The focus was only on the gold plated cars and the alleged success stories…

Got a news tip? Let Us Know