Losses of Apple guru’s clients could reach into the billions

FORTUNE — On Monday Fortune.com published The rise and fall of Andy Zaky — the tale of an Internet-trained investment advisor who led hundreds of followers over their own personal financial cliffs last fall when Apple’s (AAPL) stock price collapsed. Over the next two days, many former members of his Bullish Cross investment groups wrote to say that my estimate of their losses was off by at least a factor of 10 and perhaps more.

On further investigation, I think they may be right.

Forms filed with the SEC show that investors in Bullish Cross Capital L.P. — Zaky’s failed Apple hedge fund — had put up at least $10.6 million and lost it all.

What I could only guess at were the losses suffered by the hundreds of subscribers to his Bullish Cross financial newsletter who — on his advice — had put their money into high-risk Apple options.

What I can say now is that I’ve heard directly from 39 former Bullish Cross members who tell me that they lost anywhere from $15,000 to $50 million apiece.

  • Total losses for these 39 investors: $97.3 million
  • Average loss: $2.5 million

Given that at its peak, Bullish Cross had 700 members, it’s quite likely that Andy Zaky’s followers — many of whom had put their savings and retirement accounts into Apple call spreads — lost hundreds of millions of dollars. If the members I haven’t heard from were large investors, total losses could reach into the billions.

One final, disturbing thought: Zaky was hardly the only Apple investment guru encouraging retail clients to buy bullish Apple options just as some of the largest funds on Wall Street were pulling their money out of the underlying stock.

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