Martin A. Armstrong

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Martin A. Armstrong
Born (1949-11-01)November 1, 1949
New Jersey
Occupation Chairman
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.[1] In August 2006, Armstrong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, and began a five-year sentence.[2]


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.[3] After becoming the manager of his employer's store, he and a partner opened a collectors' store when he was 21.[4] 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.[4]

Armstrong is mostly self-taught. His economic philosophy was influenced by his father, a lawyer whose grandfather had lost a fortune in the 1929 stock market crash.[5] 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.[3]


Armstrong is the developer of the Economic Confidence Model based on business cycles and pi.[3] He is known for claiming to have predicted the crash of 1987 to the very day.[6] Using his theory that boom-bust cycles occur once every 3,141 days, or 8.6 years (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.[3][7] According to his model the 1st October 2015 is another peak, and Armstrong suggests there may be a U.S. government shutdown on that day, due to issues getting a deal to extend the debt ceiling.[8]


Armstrong believes climate change is a fraud.[9]

Criminal conviction[edit]

In 1999, Japanese fraud investigators determined that Armstrong had been collecting money from Japanese investors, improperly "commingling" these funds with funds from other investors, and using the fresh money to cover losses he had incurred while trading.[10] Assisting Armstrong in his scheme was the Republic New York Bank, which produced false account statements to reassure Armstrong's investors. In 2001, the bank agreed to pay $606 million as restitution for its part in the scandal.[11]

Armstrong was indicted in 1999, and was ordered by judge Richard Owen to turn over a number of gold bars, computers, and antiquities that had been bought with the fund's money; the list included bronze helmets and a bust of Julius Caesar.[12] Armstrong produced some of the items, but claimed the others were not in his possession; this led to several contempt of court charges.[13] Armstrong was jailed for seven years for contempt of court, until judge Owen was removed from the case and Armstrong reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.[14] Armstrong pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to five years in prison.[15]


The 2014 film The Forecaster tells the story of Armstrong creating his financial model, his imprisonment and release.[16] It was directed by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger, premièring at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.[17]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Jones, Ashby (January 8, 2009). "No Charge: In Civil-Contempt Cases, Jail Time Can Stretch On for Years". Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d 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. 
  4. ^ a b Armstrong v. CFTC, 12 F.3d 401, 402 (3d Cir. 1993).
  5. ^ [1] The New Yorker 10.12.2009]
  6. ^ Blumenthal, Robin Goldwyn (June 25, 2011). "Circular Reasoning: A Market for Pi in the Sky?". Barrons online. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ Faux, Zeke; Glovin, David (October 13, 2011). "After Prison, a Forecaster Aims for a Comeback". Bloomberg Business Week online. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ Martin Armstrong (4 August 2015). "The ECM Date October 1 = Fiscal Year-End". 
  9. ^ Martin Armstrong (2014). "Man Made Climate Change is a Fraud". 
  10. ^ Strom, Stephanie (1999-09-17). "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS - Japanese Regulators Get a 2d 'Scalp' Under Their Belts -". JAPAN: New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  11. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (2001-12-18). "Republic New York Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud -". JAPAN: New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  12. ^ "Investor Ordered To Give Up Gold -". New York Times. 2000-01-08. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  13. ^ "Market Forecaster Is Still Behind Bars -". JAPAN: New York Times. 2000-01-18. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  14. ^ "Jailed 7 Years for Contempt, Adviser Is Headed for Prison". The New York Times. 2007-04-28. 
  15. ^ "Jailed Adviser Is Sentenced and Fined in Fraud Case". The New York Times. 2007-04-11. 
  16. ^ The Forecaster at the Internet Movie Database
  17. ^

Further reading[edit]

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