A 20-year-old college student has committed suicide after mistakenly believing he owed $730,000 on the Robinhood online stock trading app, according to his family who found a suicide note explaining that he had been “financially devastated.”
Alexander E. Kearns died on Friday after throwing himself in front of a train in his home town of Naperville, Illinois.
Kearns’ parents found a note which was later shared by another relative to the media on Twitter.
“How was a 20 year old with no income able to get assigned almost a million dollar's worth of leverage?' the note reads. The puts that I bought/sold should have cancelled out, too, but I also have no clue what I was doing now in hindsight,” Kearns wrote.
“There was no intention to be assigned this much and take this muck risk, and I only thought I was risking the money that I actually owed,” he added in the note.
To the media - This is paragraph 1 of the suicide note. It’s part of the public domain. Quote away.— Bill Brewster (@BillBrewsterSCG) June 17, 2020
If you’d like verification, the family will provide that. pic.twitter.com/Q9Kb2hgccn
According the media outlets, a screenshot from Kearns phone showing the app revealed he did in fact had a negative $730,165 cash balance displayed in red, but that it may have been temporary figure until stocks underlying his assigned options settled into his account later.
The founders of the online stock trading app Robinhood said they have pledged major changes to their platform, especially around options trading, following Kearns’ suicide.