A recent St. Francis College graduate who thought he could outsmart Facebook for some major financial gains, is now being hit with a lawsuit worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Martin Grunin, a wannabe "Wolf of Wall Street," according to the New York Post, told his school newspaper that "money drives me completely" in an interview about him being "already being a financial trader." He now faces jail time for an elaborate scam involving Facebook's ads.
Grunin, 22, convinced Facebook representatives to open high spending limit advertising accounts with him. He did this by posing as an executive at major marketing firms, like Imprezzio Inc, and even created fake bank records, email addresses, and company papers to match. After he had Facebook convinced and the accounts were open, he re-sold the ad space for thousands of dollars. He even sold the space to fellow scammers. Facebook estimates he earned about $350,000 and never paid Facebook a dime.
Facebook has been following Grunin's actions since 2011. Grunin was a regular user of Wicked Fire, posting in the affiliate marketing forum about his business schemes. On March 9, 2011, he posted that Facebook had sent him a Cease and Desist. He discussed the email he received at that time from Facebook's legal counsel with his fellow forum members, and said "I'm just going to comply and not get into any conversation with them." As it turns out, Grunin did not comply, and this time around, Facebook hand delivered a Cease and Desist order to his father's home — where Grunin reportedly still lives.
Facebook has since shut down around 70 accounts which Grunin used for his ad sales scheme. Though it seems he was making the majority of his money on ad sales, he had created a digital personality as a trader. He was leading the life of an e-Wolf of Wall Street, complete with a rented orange Lamborghini and YouTube videos boasting about successful trades.
Grunin even told his school newspaper — remember, he was gettin' money at the ripe old age of 19 — “I’ve gotten so used to just being able to go anywhere without looking at any price tags." Now all that money can be spent on legal counsel, and repaying his debts to Facebook.
Check out the lawsuit in full below. This pup-of-not-quite Wall Street is in for a bumpy ride:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.