Some people have a lot of nerve. Joe Campbell is one of those people.
Campbell recently sold over 8,000 shares of pharma company KaloBios short when they were valued at less than $3 each. (Short-selling essentially works by taking the risk to assume a security’s price will decline, enabling it to be bought back at a lower price to make a profit).
Figuring the stocks were worthless, he went into a two-hour meeting thinking they’d continue to tank. When he returned, his E-Trade portfolio had racked up a debt of $140,000. This is in addition to over $50,000 he had invested that were wiped clean. During those two hours, KaloBios’ value skyrocketed to around $24 a share, which, when you’re short selling, means you lose money. A lot of money.
Amusingly, it was pharma gangster Martin Shkreli‘s out-of-the-blue investment in KaloBios that caused its shares to surge.
So what’s a guy who committed more than Canada’s average salary to an incredibly risky investment strategy to do? Ask others to finance his bad judgement, obviously.
“I’m never one to ask for a handout and honestly I’m kinda not sure if I should post this,” wrote Campbell before asking for a handout and posting a plea for people to “help me get a little out of this hole” on a GoFundMe page titled ‘I owe Etrade $106k, ouch’.
But lest you assume this is about him; “This is a terrible lesson for me but if this helps just one person than I’m happy I wrote this,” he wrote. Wow, pretty generous of him.
And yet people did donate – Campbell raised over $7,000 in under a day before calling off the campaign, presumably because he’d made the money back unless he panic sold (KaloBios’ stock has levelled out at around $13 a share) or couldn’t bear the influx of savage comments.
Campbell’s last update on the GoFundMe page thanked everyone for their donations, promised he wouldn’t short low float stocks ever again, and included a line about paying it forward. This seems like a bit of a piss take though:
— JoeC (@jwctrek) November 19, 2015
In our opinion, Stock traders who made over $10k over the past two weeks probably shouldn’t be charities.