From his penthouse apartment on New York's East Side, TokyoMex isn't shying away from a fight.
news Wednesday that the
Securities and Exchange Commission
is investigating the high-profile online stock picker's trading activities and had issued subpoenas to some of his online followers has resulted in a flood of support, he says.
Yun Soo Oh Park, who also goes by the names Joe Park and Tokyo Joe, says the SEC investigation doesn't worry him. "No, why should it?" he asks. "I've talked to my lawyers, and I'm getting emails and message from my members saying that I'm innocent."
The problematic aura of an SEC investigation doesn't seem to have changed the way TokyoMex does business either. On his Web site,
Tokyo Joe's Societe Anonyme
, TokyoMex still posted stock picks today as usual, which included
among others. (VerticalNet, an operator of Internet trading sites, was up about 10% Thursday.)
In fact, TokyoMex contends, the added publicity of the investigation has helped. "I got 60 new members today to join my site," he says.
About 300 miles south of TokyoMex's apartment, Dale Weaver, a Societe Anonyme member, had a less glib point of view. Weaver, who trades online from his home in Fredericksburg, Va., says he wasn't surprised when he saw the news about the SEC inquiry Wednesday. "There had been a lot of messages on
bashing him," Weaver says. "I figured something was up."
On the Internet, where rumors of an SEC investigation were drifting around for days, word spread quickly that TokyoMex confirmed he was being investigated. "Yow! It will be interesting to see how that situation is resolved," wrote one poster on SI named Rock nj.
Others were more circumspect. An SI poster called Invest Lady wrote: "What comes around, goes around. ... The key is, keep a low profile, this way people can't be jealous of you and hate you, that was where T. Mex went wrong...."
Once SI posters were done chewing on the news, most of the threads dedicated to TokyoMex promptly returned to discussing stocks. (While much of the discussion centers on micro-cap stocks, TokyoMex says he stopped trading penny stocks more than a year ago.) Still, more rumors were percolating. Several online posters suggested that TokyoMex had sent out an email asking his members to write to the SEC in support of him.
Showing that a temper can go from zero to 60 in the time it takes to click a mouse, TokyoMex denied that he had solicited support from his followers. "What do you think, I'm a ... clown?" he fumes. "I don't have to do that! My members are too smart for that!"
At least one letter of support showed up on SI, this one from Gregory Sterner, of Carrollton, Texas, who couldn't be reached for comment.
The letter states in part:
"I have found Mr. Park's emails and postings on various online chat rooms of the utmost value to me. From the beginning, Mr. Park made it exceedingly clear that even though he gave out information on stocks that I should review, I and I alone was responsible for any decision on my part to purchase or sell a stock.
"Often, via his emails, he would admonish the inexperienced investor and beginner not to trade in a fast-moving stock since the inexperienced investor and beginner did not know enough to be able to successfully trade in a fast-moving market."
TokyoMex says "spies in
Societe Anonyme's membership" posted Sterner's letter on SI, trying to make it look like TokyoMex had encouraged it.
In Fredericksburg, Weaver says the outcome of the SEC investigation doesn't matter to him -- he stopped using TokyoMex's recommendations last year simply because they hadn't been that good for a while. "I haven't traded any of his picks so far this year," Weaver says. "I think he's done lost it."