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College student, 20, commits suicide after 'glitch' on online trading platform Robinhood showed a negative $730,000 balance

This story just 😳. What happened was this kid had placed some option trades. Due to a glitch Robinhood showed him a negative $730,160 cash balance. The “glitch” here appears to be that Robinhood wasn’t calculating his option exposures correctly as offsetting contracts/positions would have offset each other.

 

Quote

In fact, a screenshot from Kearns’ mobile phone reveals that while his account had a negative $730,165 cash balance displayed in red, it may not have represented uncollateralized indebtedness at all, but rather his temporary balance until the stocks underlying his assigned options actually settled into his account.

-Forbes

 

My opinion: based on what I’ve read, not only did he not owed any money, he actually had a positive account balance and most likely made money on his positions because the market has been up substantially and he was long the market!!!


Robinhood has been extremely glitchy for a financial firm/app. Earlier this year on multiple occasions they locked out their users from trading on very important trading days.



20-Year-Old Robinhood Customer Dies By Suicide After Seeing A $730,000 Negative Balance

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/06/17/20-year-old-robinhood-customer-commits-suicide-after-seeing-a-730000-negative-balance/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

 

Nebraska college student, 20, commits suicide after 'glitch' on online trading platform Robinhood showed a negative $730,000 cash balance in his account

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8433117/amp/College-student-20-commits-suicide-Robinhood-glitch-showed-massive-debt.html?ito=amp_twitter_share-top&__twitter_impression=true

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730k, or one US hospital bill

get money, acquire catgirls, fold proteins

 

systems:

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3 minutes ago, Curious Pineapple said:

If I saw -730,000 I'd be contacting the company involved, not topping myself. Must have been some underlying mental health issue for such a lack of rational thinking.

Yeah that's what I am thinking too.

No way a mentally stable and healthy individual would just suicide as soon as they saw a negative balance on their account.

Also, how can you have so little insight into your finance that you don't know if you are 730,000 dollars in debt or make money?

 

This entire story smells fishy.

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6 minutes ago, Curious Pineapple said:

If I saw -730,000 I'd be contacting the company involved, not topping myself. Must have been some underlying mental health issue for such a lack of rational thinking.

yeah definitely, but imagine the prospect of losing money past the point of bankruptcy

 

interesting thing actually, because i actually was on a receiving end of card transaction fraud a few years back (try waking up to $12 of any currency remaining in your bank account). i'm only lucky that the bank actually contacted me about this and followed up on a new card and reversals. did suck to live only 5 days without money, but yeah

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Not too long ago there was another exploit found and someone made a couple million off virtually a zero dollar investment

ƆԀ S₱▓Ɇ▓cs: i7 6ʇɥפᴉƎ00K (4.4ghz), Asus DeLuxe X99A II, GT҉X҉1҉0҉8҉0 Zotac Amp ExTrꍟꎭe),Si6F4Gb D???????r PlatinUm, EVGA G2 Sǝʌǝᘉ5ᙣᙍᖇᓎᙎᗅᖶt, Phanteks Enthoo Primo, 3TB WD Black, 500gb 850 Evo, H100iGeeTeeX, Windows 10, K70 R̸̢̡̭͍͕̱̭̟̩̀̀̃́̃͒̈́̈́͑̑́̆͘͜ͅG̶̦̬͊́B̸͈̝̖͗̈́, G502, HyperX Cloud 2s, Asus MX34. פN∩SW∀S 960 EVO

Just keeping this here as a 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I don´t get why anyone would commit suicide because of debt. You can declare bankcruptcy and be debt free in a couple of years depending on the country.

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Just tragic. :(

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 There's supposed to be margin requirements and forced liquidations but my understanding is people have found combinations of glitching through it.  

 

Certain instruments being traded you have theoretically unlimited loss if you're not getting margin-called.  Combine "unlimited loss" with lots of leverage (4x or more of your actual cash)....and you end up with $700k loss being believable even when you didn't have anywhere near that amount of cash to begin with.

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Very sad story overall... Robinhood should probably get out infront of this and at least provide some form of payment to the family before they get sued. And a public apology probably couldn't hurt... My day is gonna be pretty grey after reading this one. 

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when you're mentally unstable and were going to commit suicide anyways but a glitch in robinhood shows your balance being negative

That's what sounds really strange about this, especially as the person didn't really know what he was doing with the app. Surely he could've contacted their support to see what was going on, especially if they weren't anywhere close to, well, $730k in either direction.

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6 hours ago, Curious Pineapple said:

If I saw -730,000 I'd be contacting the company involved, not topping myself. Must have been some underlying mental health issue for such a lack of rational thinking.

 

6 hours ago, LAwLz said:

Yeah that's what I am thinking too.

No way a mentally stable and healthy individual would just suicide as soon as they saw a negative balance on their account.

Also, how can you have so little insight into your finance that you don't know if you are 730,000 dollars in debt or make money?

 

This entire story smells fishy.

Depending how much mental investment into the positions he had, and the amount of leverage, no, I could very easily see someone killing themselves. Leverage is lethal, a known reality in Finance. It's why a lot of people shouldn't trade, in general. Though a lot of times Leverage is more lethal due to the people coming after you than suicide, but this is a very real issue.

 

That said, something else is obviously up. It'll come out later, probably after Robinhood settles a wrongful death suit.

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1 hour ago, Orangeator said:

Very sad story overall... Robinhood should probably get out infront of this and at least provide some form of payment to the family before they get sued. And a public apology probably couldn't hurt... My day is gonna be pretty grey after reading this one. 

probably should say their condolences to the family but an apology can be seen as an admission of guilt and hurt them in any lawsuit that comes from it

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That would incite quite the hopeless feeling if you saw that....but the logical part of me would kick in, you can go broke, but you cant go negative with stock trading?  I haven't traded in years but you don't end up owing money if a stock tanks so Im finding it hard to understand where he would believe this negative account funds could have logically happened.  Maybe my trading was too vanilla to understand this.

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2 minutes ago, Tristerin said:

That would incite quite the hopeless feeling if you saw that....but the logical part of me would kick in, you can go broke, but you cant go negative with stock trading?  I haven't traded in years but you don't end up owing money if a stock tanks so Im finding it hard to understand where he would believe this negative account funds could have logically happened.  Maybe my trading was too vanilla to understand this.

maybe he used margin aka borrowed money to buy stocks. but if he didnt buy 730,000 dollars of stock it cant go 730,000 negative and even if so its only if every stock becomes worthless

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2 minutes ago, spartaman64 said:

maybe he used margin aka borrowed money to buy stocks

Ahhh Ive never done that.  Due to his age, Id be impressed he was able to eek a monetary loan without physical assets to put it up against (to the tune of being able to gamble with that much money)

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16 hours ago, Taf the Ghost said:

and the amount of leverage,

Yep, yep. yep. Especially with option plays that can lose you more money than you put in.

15 hours ago, spartaman64 said:

maybe he used margin aka borrowed money to buy stocks.

I would be not one bit surprised, if he was selling naked options on HTZ/CHK/etc. at the height of their dead-cat bounces, on however much margin Robinhood allowed him to have. That is an express ticket to personal bankruptcy very fast, if the underlying ticker moves the wrong way.

  

15 hours ago, Tristerin said:

Ahhh Ive never done that.  Due to his age, Id be impressed he was able to eek a monetary loan without physical assets to put it up against (to the tune of being able to gamble with that much money)

Many brokers allow you to margin-up in proportion to the total asset value of the account. E.g. have $10,000 worth of stuff (cash, equities, whatever) in the account and the broker might let you margin-up another $8,000.

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42 minutes ago, willies leg said:

Robinhood is famous for people not knowing how to trade options, letting them trade options or have margin accounts way beyond their means.

 

Apparently this isn't their first "glitch"

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-05/robinhood-has-a-glitch-that-gives-traders-infinite-leverage

 

 

yep

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58 minutes ago, spartaman64 said:

maybe he used margin aka borrowed money to buy stocks. but if he didnt buy 730,000 dollars of stock it cant go 730,000 negative and even if so its only if every stock becomes worthless

You're missing that there are some instruments like options which can cost you more money than you actually put in.  With options you can become obliged to provide shares at current market price.  And if a stock moves 600% like Hertz did you may be holding options that require you to delivery 10,000 shares that you bought when the price was only $1 but now it's $6 and your $100 options bet now costs you $60,000 to make good on.

 

I'm "experienced" in market trading and I stay the fuck away from options.

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It's really unfortunate that their first thought was to off themselves instead of either investigating the amount or looking for solutions... Didn't even know it was possible to go in the negative with stocks.

 

As a side note, assuming the amount was legitimate and not a glitch, wouldn't simply ignoring it until a collection agency came for them and then declaring bankruptcy solve their financial issues?

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