The Black-Widow of Singapore Forex Trading: Police Reports, Intimidation And Suicide.
A web of financial losses, death threats and depression
COMMENTARY | BY JONATHAN LEONG | 14TH AUG 2019
Disclaimer: The following story is based on one victim’s alleged perspective. While investigations are on-going: the alleged perpetrator in this story, Summer Lee FX has been placed on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Watchlist.
Daniel Lim is on a holy war.
Dressed in a t-shirt and shorts while clicking away on his laptop in the manufactured coolness of the mall’s café, he looks like any unassuming Singaporean.
He has the perpetual countenance of a monk who’s developed numbness for the carnage of life.
The range of emotions he displayed over our cup of coffee together however, would be best described as belonging to someone who’s narrowly escaped the sort of hell where they shove pineapples up your ass repeatedly – with the lingering trauma to go along with it.
However to his credit, instead of breaking down whilst recounting his tale - any potential build-up of tension in his story would always be peppered with intermittent jabs of self-deprecation and the brand of humour you’d see in a low risk therapy session.
Not bad for a guy who’s lost almost $65k
2014: Surviving, Then Thriving
Daniel had all the trappings of middle-class Singaporean success. After working for some years and getting a job as an FMCG market researcher in leading business intelligence firm IPSOS he had managed to scrape enough together to invest in a condominium.
An unfortunate political predicament at work resulted in the sudden loss of his job and he was cast into an ocean of uncertainty. His material success had a price – in the form of an unreasonable credit-claiming boss (who ultimately was fired 2 months after Daniel was forced to depart from the company).
Recounting this incident lights a righteous fire in Daniel’s eyes.
He recounts how he was jobless and saddled with a hefty mortgage, determined to chart his own life raft, “do or die I had bills to pay” as he puts it. He proceeded to pick up every free and paid course in the wild wild west of ‘making-money-online’.
Despite the high failure rate commonly associated with Internet marketing, he beat the odds and along with the help of a close friend and business partner; became successful in the early days of ecommerce arbitrage, manually listing up to thousands of products in every conceivable niche online.
He had snatched victory from the jaws of death and was now a ‘work from home entrepreneur’, although he tells me he hates that term – as it often belies the hidden grind and grit needed to succeed in anything online.
Flush with the success of his hard worn labour (and a new investment war-chest filled with the spoils of his online ecommerce crusades), Daniel proceeded as he had done before previously when all seemed lost – to explore income-generating opportunities, except this time he wasn’t doing it simply to survive. Merely surviving alone wasn’t cutting it anymore for him.
Like most of us, he was reaching for something seemingly unattainable.
He found it in the warm embrace of the two most sought after words, the holy grail dripping down the lips of anyone who’s known the meaning of simply existing as a 9-6pm cubicle life form:
Before you laugh at his seemingly self-inflicted predicament from the safe perch of your self-assured logic, know that Daniel didn’t strap himself on the Forex Trading Rollercoaster to the abyss by his own accord entirely.
He had help on his journey.
Like all loss making sagas, the voyage of losing money always starts the same way – via a friend of a trusted friend.
2018: Help From A ‘Pretty’ Guru
As any guy would know, pretty girls don’t deliver themselves to your doorstep.
Unless you have: A) a large bank account, or B) a truly great personality.
Unfortunately for most guys they tend to put their faith in B a-little too much. One might even call it romantic optimism. According to Daniel, for the past few years, Summer (a self proclaimed Forex Trading expert on Facebook) has been proving the hypothesis that most guys report to the faith doctrine of option B. According to Daniel, Summer regularly adds guys to her Facebook friend list, and has been using this tactic for awhile now…thereby manually growing her social media audience.
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Summer Lee displays a lifestyle most working adults would envy, branded goods, chill-out sessions at cafes and screenshots showing her Forex trading results, along with a bevy of positive comments – mostly from guys.
Whenever doubts arise amongst the unfaithful, Summer Lee and her legion of alleged ‘paid subscribers’ would demolish any dissent in her comments section, furthering the image of a charismatic guru on a warpath to trading greatness. Opposing views be damned.
Unfortunately for Daniel (who used to be a market researcher btw), his introduction to Summer Lee was via a less flashy route.
In the 4-5years leading up to Daniel even putting a dollar into Forex trading, his friend (and business partner) would tell him stories of how a close friend Summer Lee was systematically making bank via Forex trading – and how Summer could help Daniel if they enrolled in her course together…ultimately culminating into them depositing funds into a Forex account which she (Summer FX) would manage.
Summer FX’s offerings:
-> 1-1 Personal Coaching sessions - $1,888
-> Forex trading signals subscription - $600 per year (users are added into her group)
-> Managed Fund Forex trading - 50% of profits to SummerFX 50% back to you.
Summer Lee claimed her methods would yield an average of 20% interest (per month) from whatever capital one injected into their Forex trading account.
Daniel proceeded to grill Summer Lee regarding her trading tactics, cut loss mechanisms and other complex Forex terminologies. Throughout his questioning she remained unfazed, upbeat and even confident. Brushing off any doubt and market uncertainty as ‘all part of the overall picture’ to making significant gains.
Having dabbled in stock investing before, Daniel mentioned that he was predisposed to the risky nature of the trading world – and was willing to explore a new avenue for potential income generation.
Initial results seemed promising, from Daniel’s initial investment of $30k, profits had begun to stream in.
On the 13th of October 2018, Summer told Daniel to withdraw $13k of profits and give her 50% cut to her as they had agreed.
As a measure of good faith in her trading practices, Daniel chose not to withdraw the $13k in profits and used his own additional funds from his savings account to pay Summer her commission fee. He told her to keep the profits in his trading account so as to generate more trading returns.
All in all, towards the last quarter of 2018 Daniel’s account had reached a healthy $65k. All seemed well.
By the 14th of November 2018 every cent was gone in under two weeks.
According to Daniel, Summer’s usual modus operandi would be to claim that she herself had been ‘blindsided’ and that unexpected market losses are ‘part of the game’ – if victims press her for accountability she will proceed to feign suicidal thoughts and claim to be mentally unstable.
2019: A Sprawling Web of Victims
Since Daniel’s public sharing via Facebook regarding his experience with Summer’s forex activities, many others have come forward to share their tales of woe.
Some have even claimed that they like Daniel - have received numerous harassing phone calls by thugs and have made their own police reports. Some even fear for their life.
As of now, due to the inherently murky nature of assisted forex trading, and the fact that many of her alleged victims entered into agreements with Summer through her Facebook business page, Summer has managed to evade criminal prosecution.
After speaking with Daniel, we gather that due to Forex businesses being categorized as belonging to the ‘investments’ sector, when deals go badly it is challenging to seek legal recourse.
Update (14th August 2019): According to Daniel, Summer has received a warning from the police not to get embroiled into any further altercations or acts of intimidation towards her alleged victims many of whom are coming out of the woodwork online.
Deep inside all of us human beings is a longing for something intangible.
The best scammers dig deep and wheel us around via our most primal instincts…or tap into our innate craving to transcend the ordinary.
And transcend the ordinary Summer FX did, at least in perceived success at the beginning.
Her alleged victims tended to be males working in high stress, high income or stable jobs (with a high propensity to save cash) with little excitement or self actualization outside of their career roles.
In essence one might say they sought to transcend the confines of their existence via the romanticism of what it means to be a successful Forex investor - turbo charged by a seemingly attractive online persona (embodied by Summer FX)...resulting in the sacrifice of their cash savings at the altar of hope.
Imagine playing a game of finance with a ‘friendly female fund manager’ on Facebook.
Given the subjectivity of the trading world, it’s hard to know for sure how much of Summer’s clients’ money was allegedly lost as a result of trading volatility or outright fraud.
According to Daniel, most of her alleged victims are guys. Many of whom; are too ashamed to come forward with their stories of monumental financial loss and emotional oversight.
Publicly acknowledging the fact that you’ve been in a black-widow’s web can sometimes contain twice the sting.
Friends have urged Daniel to move on, but for Daniel, a professional e-commerce entrepreneur – finding the truth and sharing it with others has become a sort of calling for him.
When he speaks about his rollercoaster ride on the Summer FX forex train, his eyes contain the same wildfire they had when he talked about his wrongful dismissal, many years ago from his market research job - and how he was eventually proven right, when the one who instigated his dismissal was busted and sacked in the end.
As futile as Daniel’s quest might seem to someone from the outside looking in, perhaps this quest is his own way of answering that innate craving we’ve all got deep inside…to transcend the ordinary.
As we speak, his crusade continues.