Mohammed Islam, from Queens, originally told the New York Magazine he started dabbling in penny stocks aged just nine and developed a “life-long passion” for trading that was paying off.
The 17-year-old claimed he had made money in the “high eight figures” between classes at Stuyvesant High School trading oil and gold futures and equities.
But in a later interview with the New York Observer, he said the whole story was fake and he had not made any money at all.
In an interview with the magazine from the offices of their recently-hired PR firm, Mr Islam and his alleged partner Damir Tulemaganbetov said they made the whole thing up.
Reportedly flanked by lawyers, they reportedly said they were coming clean because their tale had grown out of all proportion.
Mr Islam told journalists a friend’s father had put him in touch with New York Magazine and the $72 million figure was untrue.
Although he runs an “investment club” at school, it only does simulated trades and does not deal in real money.
It seems his rumoured BMW purchase and luxury flat in Manhattan were also just a dream, and his parents are not very happy.
“Honestly, my dad wanted to disown me,” Mr Islam told the Observer. “My mum basically said she’d never talk to me. Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me…they knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since.”
His friend Mr Tulemaganbetov said he expected people to get “mad” when news of the lie spreads on social media.
“But we’re sorry. Especially to our parents,” he added.
Is the media is so desperate for a Muslim success story that doesn’t involve jihad that they’ll fall for anything in their Sisyphean quest?