- Jacob Wohl is a 21-year-old conservative conspiracy theorist famous for his pro-Trump Twitter personality.
- He was just banned from Twitter for making fake accounts on the site, a Twitter spokesperson told INSIDER.
- Wohl gained notoriety for running a hedge fund using money raised from people in his high school. That ended when he was banned from securities trading.
- In late April, Wohl was accused of attempting to smear 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, through false accusations of sexual assault. The Daily Beast was first to report on the alleged hoax.
- This is not the first time he’s allegedly attempted this type of scheme. Late last year, he allegedly fabricated a hoax where a woman falsely accused special counsel Robert Mueller of sexual assault. Mueller’s office referred the plan to the FBI.
Jacob Wohl is an accomplished young man.
Only 21, he’s already been sanctioned by the Arizona Corporation Commission, investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and may be the subject of an FBI investigation.
He’s also one of President Donald Trump’s biggest supporters.
In October, Wohl dominated the news when the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office released a statement saying they had learned of plans to pay off women to fabricate sexual misconduct accusations against Mueller. Wohl was quickly linked to the plans, which are being investigated by the FBI.
Carolyne Cass, the woman Wohl said accused Mueller of sexual assault, told USA Today that the whole thing was made up. She said Wohl pretended to be an Israeli-trained intelligence investigator who would help her with “unscrupulous characters ripping me off,” and that she never signed the affidavit claiming Mueller sexually assaulted her.
“He completely lied to me,” Cass told USA Today.
On Tuesday his Twitter account was “suspended for multiple violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically creating and operating fake accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson told INSIDER.
But who exactly is Wohl? Where did he come from? And how did he get involved in presidential punditry and political dirty tricks?
Jacob Wohl became famous on Twitter for constantly tweeting at President Donald Trump
If you ever click through one of Trump’s tweets and look at the replies, there’s a good chance you’ll find Wohl.
He first made his name on Twitter, in the early days of Trump’s presidency, by replying to almost every one of Trump’s tweets and touting his unflagging support.
His now-gone tweets said stuff like “Instead of endlessly complaining, Democrats should get down on their knees and thank President Trump for his never ending list of achievements” and “It’s time to LOCK UP Mueller, Brennan, Crooked, Bill and the rest of these treasonous dirtbags.”
Through his replies to Trump, Wohl’s own tweets frequently went viral, and he ultimately built his own following, which hovered around 179,000. It didn’t hurt that Trump sometimes retweeted Wohl’s praise.
Wohl built his Twitter presence into a larger media career. He’s been on Fox Business news and has written for The Gateway Pundit, a far-right propaganda site that frequently publishes hoaxes and conspiracy theories.
He also started his own publication, Offended America, which was later renamed The Washington Reporter. It’s most famous for plagiarizing its code of ethics from the investigative journalism publication ProPublica. Wohl also has a YouTube channel where he espouses conspiracy theories, such as the claim that people in the movie industry are covering up a massive pedophilia ring.
Before all that, Wohl was implicated in financial fraud
Wohl wasn’t always famous for being a Trump supporter. When he was a student at Santiago High School in Corona, California, he ran a money-management group called Wohl Capital Investment Group. He told Bloomberg that he took investments from fellow students, teachers, and the school principal – and ultimately raised about $US500,000 from people around the country. He called himself the “Wohl of Wall Street.”
It didn’t work out. One client, David Diedrich, said Wohl told him his $US75,000 investment had increased to more than $US89,000. But when he asked for the funds, Wohl sent him a check for just $US44,000, according to Bloomberg.
Diedrich filed a complaint with the National Futures Association, which regulates derivatives trading. Other investors filed complaints to the Arizona Corporation Commission, saying Wohl misrepresented the scope and operations of his funds. In some promotional materials, for example, Wohl said he had nine years of trading experience, which meant he would have been working in financial markets since he was 8 years old.
In 2017, The National Futures Association banned Wohl from membership for life. A few months later, the Arizona Corporation Committee ordered him and a business partner, Matthew Johnson, to pay a $US5,000 penalty for committing securities fraud “in connection with two hedge funds and a house-flipping venture.” The committee also ordered Wohl to pay $US32,918 in restitution.
“Montgomery Assets, Inc., an entity controlled by Wohl and Johnson, posted advertisements on Craigslist in connection with a promissory note offering to fund a house-flipping venture, making several misrepresentations regarding company size, the experience of the employees and risk associated with the investment,”the committee said in a statement. “The Commission found that Wohl, Johnson, and their affiliated companies were not licensed to provide investment advice or registered to offer and sell securities in Arizona.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission also investigated Wohl’s businesses, according to Bloomberg. But it ultimately decided not to take any enforcement action, according to a document from July 2017 that Wohl provided to the financial news site Benzinga.
Wohl is also known for tweets in which he claims to overhear liberals quietly supporting Trump
In one famous genre of Wohl tweets, he purports to be at a local “hipster coffee shop” overhearing people on the political left conspire to support Republicans. He’s tweeted variations on this same idea several times over.
Where is this coffee shop? Are all these tweets about the same one? Wohl didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s requests for comment.
It’s possible that Wohl doesn’t take his own tweets seriously. He tweeted a link to a Daily Dot article making fun of him for the trope in July.
And in an interview with USA Today, he said they’re all made up.
“If you in any way impugn the sanctity of the hipster coffee shop, it’s going to be something that gets them really charged up,” he said. “I’ll literally hear one thing and I’ll flip it 180 degrees.”
Most recently, The Daily Beast published a piece alleging that Wohl was attempting a scheme to falsely accuse 2020 presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg of sexual assault.
As INSIDER’s Eliza Relman reported, a Medium post was published on Monday under the name Hunter Kelly, accusing Buttigieg of sexual assault.
Kelly, told The Daily Beast, that he was not behind the Medium account or a Twitter handle in his name (@RealHunterKelly), and that the allegation made in the Medium piece is false.
“It’s important for everyone to know that I was not sexually assaulted and would never falsely accuse anyone,” Kelly wrote on Facebook on Monday evening. “To keep it brief for now, I was approached by a political figure to come to DC to discuss political situations from the standpoint of a gay Republican. When I arrived they discussed Peter Buttigieg and started talking about how they would be working a campaign against him.”
“I went to bed and woke up to a fake Twitter @RealHunterKelly and an article that I in no way endorsed or wrote,” he continued. “I have since left and am working on a formal statement to give to everyone including the Buttigieg family.”
An unnamed Republican source told The Daily Beast that he too had been approached by Wohl and Jack Burkman, a right-wing lobbyist. The source recorded the conversation, which is allegedly of Wolh and Burkman, and gave it to The Daily Beast. The publication did not publish the audio to protect the source, but had an expert on audio forensics weigh in.
“I’m sure it’s not the first time somebody is going to make something up about me,” Buttigieg said on Monday in response. “It’s not going to throw us. Politics can be ugly sometimes but you have to face that when you’re in presidential politics.”
Wohl was also embroiled in a scandal over possibly creating false sexual misconduct claims against special counsel Robert Mueller
In late October, reports emerged on what’s said to be a plot to take down Mueller. Wohl appeared to be involved.
Records show that Wohl appears to run the company Surefire Intelligence. Along with Burkman, Surefire Intelligence offered women at least $US20,000 each to falsely accuse Mueller of sexual misconduct, according to NBC News and The Atlantic. Despite the fact that Surefire’s phone number is registered to Wohl’s mother, Wohl initially denied any connection to Surefire Intelligence.
In a video posted to YouTube on Thursday morning, Wohl confirmed he ran Surefire Intelligence.
On Tuesday, Wohl published documents on The Gateway Pundit that purport to prove the accusations. But Jim Hoft, the conspiracy theorist who runs the site, retracted the article and said he’d address the accusations against Wohl on Thursday.
Mueller referred the case to the FBI for investigation, and legal experts told Business Insider that Wohl could face charges that include obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and false statements.
Meanwhile, Wohl continued to push the baseless theory that Mueller sexually harassed women. Like Trump and other right-wing media figures, he views the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference as illegitimate.
If the FBI launches an investigation into Wohl, he wouldn’t have to look far for a lawyer. In addition to being a Trump surrogate himself, David Wohl, Jacob Wohl’s father, is a criminal defence attorney.
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