Martin A. Armstrong
|Martin A. Armstrong|
November 1, 1949|
|Employer||Princeton Economics International Ltd|
|Known for||Creator of the Economic Confidence Model|
Martin Arthur Armstrong (born November 1, 1949 in New Jersey) is the former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd. He is best known for his economic predictions based on the Economic Confidence Model, which he developed.
In September 1999, Armstrong faced prosecution by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for fraud. During the trial, Armstrong was imprisoned for over seven years for civil contempt of court, one of the longest-running cases of civil contempt in American legal history. In August 2006, Armstrong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, and began a five-year sentence.
At age 13, Armstrong began working at a coin and stamp dealership in Pennsauken, New Jersey. After buying a bag of rare Canadian pennies, he became a millionaire in 1965 at the age of 15. After becoming the manager of his employer's store, he and a partner opened a collectors' store when he was 21. Armstrong progressed from gold coin investments to following commodity prices for precious metals. In 1973, he began publishing commodity market predictions as a hobby. As his coin and stamp business declined ten years later, Armstrong spent more of his time on his commodity business. In 1983 Armstrong began accepting and fulfilling paid subscriptions for a commodity market forecast newsletter.
Armstrong is mostly self-taught. His economic philosophy was influenced by his father, a lawyer who lost a fortune in the 1929 stock market crash. As a high school student, after being shown The Toast of New York, a 1937 film about Jim Fisk and the Black Friday panic of 1869, Armstrong came to realize that assets do not linearly appreciate over time and that, historically, some manner of economic panic occurred every 8.6 years. After finishing high school, Armstrong briefly attended RCA Institutes (now TCI College of Technology) in New York City and audited courses at Princeton University but never completed a college degree.
Armstrong is the developer of the Economic Confidence Model based on business cycles and pi. He is known for claiming to have predicted the crash of 1987 to the very day. Using his theory that boom-bust cycles occur once every 3,141 days (the number pi multiplied by 1000), Armstrong claimed in 1999 to have predicted the Nikkei's collapse in 1989 and Russia's financial collapse in 1998.
On September 29, 1999, Armstrong was indicted by a federal grand jury for having conspired with employees of Republic New York involving Japanese investors. Republic New York pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court on December 17, 2001 and agreed upon a restitution order on January 9, 2002 of $606 million. Armstrong represented himself and was excluded from some proceedings, leading the Associated Press to question whether Armstrong could get a fair trial. The government charged Armstrong with civil contempt and he remained in prison over 7 years for failure to surrender various assets that may have been purchased with money from the investment fund at the center of the litigation. According to the New York Times, "Over the years, Judge Owen would revisit the contempt order every 18 months, guided by the federal statute. He repeatedly said that Mr. Armstrong was motivated by greed and was awaiting his release from jail to retrieve the $15 million that the government said was missing. According to lawyers who worked on the case in the early days, the financier’s headstrong manner irritated Judge Owen almost immediately." On August 17, 2006, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, commodities fraud and wire fraud. He was sentenced on April 10, 2007, to five years in prison. Armstrong's daughter, Victoria, paid her father visits in prison most Wednesdays. He was released from prison on September 2, 2011.
- De la Merced, Michael J. (April 28, 2007). "Jailed 7 Years for Contempt, Adviser Is Headed for Prison". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Jones, Ashby (January 8, 2009). "No Charge: In Civil-Contempt Cases, Jail Time Can Stretch On for Years". Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Paumgarten, Nick (October 12, 2009). "The Secret Cycle: Is the financier Martin Armstrong a con man, a crank, or a genius?". The New Yorker: 66–79. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- Armstrong v. CFTC, 12 F.3d 401, 402 (3d Cir. 1993).
- Blumenthal, Robin Goldwyn (June 25, 2011). "Circular Reasoning: A Market for Pi in the Sky?". Barrons online. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Faux, Zeke; Glovin, David (October 13, 2011). "After Prison, a Forecaster Aims for a Comeback". Bloomberg Business Week online. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Gilpin, Kenneth N (December 18, 2001). "Republic New York Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- Knox, Noelle (April 26, 2000). "Jailed Market Guru To Defend Himself". AP News Archive (Associated Press). Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Morgenson, Gretchen (August 18, 2006). "Adviser Jailed Since 2000 Pleads Guilty in Securities Fraud Case". New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Morgenson, Gretchen (February 16, 2007). "In Fraud Case, 7 Years in Jail for Contempt". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- File:Armstrong guilty plea.pdf
- "Martin Arthur Armstrong, inmate # 12518-050". Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Dep't of Justice. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Perkins, Joseph, Staff Reporter (Jun 27, 1983). "For $33.50, You Can Have a Minute With This Commodities Adviser". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- "EQUITY". The Martin Armstrong Case online. Jan–Feb 1990. Retrieved October 21, 2012.