NEW YORK, April 21 (UPI) -- U.S. finance regulators said 21-year-old twins from Britain sold investors on a fraudulent computer program they said would make investment choices.
The brothers Alexander and Thomas Hunter created a newsletter called Doubling Stocks and sold investors on a robot program called Marl, which made their investment decisions, The Financial Times reported Saturday.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges in a New York court that say the brothers ran a completely fraudulent business.
The program was not designed to choice stock options, but to keep customer computers linked to stocks they were promoting.
"Just think, had you put $5,000 on each of Marl's recommended trades over the last 4 months -- you would now have $387,684 clear profit sitting in your bank account," their Web site says.
About 75,000 investors fell for the scam, paying a total of $1.2 million to subscribe to the newsletter. They also received software that purportedly made investment decisions. In reality, it directed investors to stocks that the brothers were being paid to promote, the SEC said.
Court papers say the brothers were paid $1.8 million to promote various stocks. At the same time, they duped investors out of $1.2 million, the SEC said.
The scheme allegedly began in 2007, when the twins were 16 years old.
Alexander Hunter pleaded guilty in November in Britain to giving rogue financial advice. He was ordered to repay $1.5 million and was given a suspended sentence, the Times said.
Court papers in New York alleged that Alexander Hunter, at one point, wrote to a software developer to create software that would "not actually find stocks at all."
Instead, the twin instructed the software designer to create software that would, "connect to my database and simply request any new stocks I have put in."