The Income Box Project: Agora Financial’s Zach Scheidt Black Box?

The Income Box Project – or, for the sake of this review, shortened to IBP – is a financial investment tool that will supposedly provide its users with weekly earnings of more than $16,000 on average.

The tool is, supposedly, a highly-advanced “black box” style algorithm that detects so-called “dark pool” trading activity that then alerts stock traders, providing them enough lead time to invest as well ahead of an explosion in value of a particular stock driven by demand.

The Income Box Project Team & Company

IBP is a product under the aegis of the hydra-like Agora Financial, a publishing house that has specialized in providing financial and investment advice for decades. The individual mastermind behind IBP is one Zach Scheidt, an Atlanta, Georgia-based investment advisor.

Scheidt, according to his LinkedIn profile and his biography on the Agora Financial website, began his career as a cost accountant for SunTrust Bank before progressing to general partner of Piedmont Investment Advisory, a private investment house, where he worked for several years.

He then founded his own financial company, Scheidt Capital Management LLC, was the co-founder of Las Vegas-based Mercenary Trader, and eventually joined Agora Financial as an editor of several subscription-based financial newsletters.

According to the information included in IBP’s promotional copy, Scheidt also claims to have worked at the infamous investment house Bear Stearns just prior to the 2008 financial meltdown. However, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of such employment, either on his LInkedIn page or mentioned in his Agora Financial biography. This is, of course, odd, considering that the IBP platform relies heavily on what Scheidt says he experienced while working at Bear Stearns.

The Income Box Project Platform

The Income Box Project’s specific platform is, when distilled down to its core components, nothing more than a wildly hyped trade signal system. A black box algorithm — in other words, an opaque and proprietary trade signal software program — provides investors who have access to the software information regarding when they should invest in a specific particular stock.

Scheidt claims that this particular black box algorithm is somehow tuned into dark pool trading, which is a term that describes private investment exchanges that are not open to the public.

These dark pools are used by institutional traders to make large block transactions in private in order to not disrupt the market, but Scheidt claims that his algorithm watches for dark pool transactions and then sends out alerts as to which institutional investors are making large purchases of stocks.

These large purchases supposedly indicate that a major uptick in valuation for that specific stock is incoming as news of that institutional block purchase slowly filters out to the general public. IBP allows regular investors to ride the coattails of these major upticks by advising them to invest before the rush; the results, according to Scheidt, are the “opportunity” to make massive amounts of money by timing purchases right.

Scheidt claims that while working at Bear Stearns, he had access to the company’s black box algorithm (in the form of an actual physical black box that sat on his desk, naturally). However, after Bear Stearns’ collapse, he had to leave it behind (conveniently). However, he worked hard to recreate this algorithm again over the years since, and he also claims that using it has led to him personally making $8 million.

Scheidt is also willing to share access to his black box for the low, low price of just $3,000. This grants customers weekly trade recommendations, passed on by Scheidt from his little black box. It also includes the privilege of listening in on a “private” weekly webinar, a free guide entitled The Income Box Investing Handbook, a four-part video training series, a Samsung-brand Android tablet, and even a personal black box speaker that does god knows what.

Scheidt even “guarantees” his product. He says that if you as a customer aren’t presented with the opportunity to double your investment at least 10 times over the course of a year, he’ll personally write you a $3,000 check.

The Income Box Project In Conclusion

Sounds like a fantastic opportunity, doesn’t it? And for “just” $3,000? Where do we sign up?

All right, let’s not get too excited just yet. There are some serious holes in Scheidt’s story and presentation. First of all, there’s no evidence presented that he ever worked for Bear Stearns in any capacity — not in his Agora Financial bio, and not on his LinkedIn profile. This seems to be a pretty big omission, especially if this is where Scheidt first experienced how well the black box algorithm worked.

Secondly, he doesn’t go into any detail as to how he managed to replicate the algorithm in the years since leaving Bear Stearns. Did he develop it himself? Did he hire a team of computer programmers that worked tirelessly to create it from scratch? We don’t know, because he didn’t tell us.

Finally, we don’t have any actual, verifiable proof that there’s any “black box” in existence in the first place. Scheidt’s long sales pitch, which is long on superlatives but decidedly missing any real data, certainly shows a collection of stocks that underwent extreme value increases, but he doesn’t show any data that proves these were the result of dark pool investment — or that his algorithm tipped him off to these investments in the first place.

Until Scheidt shows us some proof of his outlandish claims, we say skip this one.

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