SEC charges Dark Web user of insider trading

  • On AlphaBay, the 30-year-old Greek guy allegedly sold phoney insider trading information
  • Trovias advertised his items on many Dark Web marketplaces
  • Trovias also launched his own website to offer tips subscriptions

For allegedly selling insider trading information on multiple Dark Web marketplaces, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged a 30-year-old Greek man with securities fraud and money laundering. According to the SEC, between December 2016 and February this year, Apostolos Trovias, who went by the screen name The Bull, pretended to be a real office clerk working in a trading branch and provided stock advice to purchasers via monthly and weekly subscriptions as well as one-time transactions. Trovias has sold unreleased earnings reports for public firms on occasion.

Complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission

According to the SEC’s complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Trovias—operating under the alias TheBull—engaged in a deceptive scheme to offer and sell so-called insider trading tips on Dark Web marketplaces to purchasers to whom Trovias provided an unfair advantage for trading securities in the public market from at least December 2016 to early 2021. Trovias stated that the information he was selling was order-book data from a securities trading firm that was handed to him by a firm employee, according to the lawsuit.

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Trovias is accused of selling the advice as one-time purchases as well as weekly and monthly subscriptions. Over the course of the operation, Trovias reportedly sold over 100 subscriptions to investors via the Dark Web. Trovias allegedly sold pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies in addition to order-book information, according to the complaint. Trovias allegedly admitted to federal officials that this information was sensitive and, more crucially, prohibited to use or transmit, according to the lawsuit.

Today’s indictments, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, show our Office’s continued commitment to stopping individuals who seek and use inside knowledge to gain an illegal advantage in the stock market.  Apostolos Trovias allegedly used anonymizing software, screen namesscreennames, and bitcoin payments to disguise his insider trading operation. The Indictment and Complaint, which were unsealed today, reveal that exploiting new technologies to commit insider trading still results in a traditional outcome: a criminal indictment.

As we allege, behind the veil of the Dark Web, using encrypted messaging apps and emails, Trovias created a business model in which he sold—for profit—proprietary information from other companies stock trading tips, pre-release earnings, and other inside information, according to FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. We don’t stop enforcing the law just because you commit federal crimes from behind a router with your keyboard, as Trovias realised today.

Views of the Chief of SEC enforcement division

According to Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, Trovias’ claimed activity was an attempt to avoid notice by working in obscure internet forums. The SEC will continue to pursue misbehaviour wherever it occurs, regardless of criminals’ efforts to disguise their traces, as this case indicates.

Trovias is accused of violating the federal securities laws’ antifraud provisions, according to the SEC’s complaint. Trovias is being sued for injunctive relief, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and penalties. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Trovias today in a separate case.

Jon Daniels and Morgan B. Ward Doran of the SEC’s Cyber Unit led the investigation, which was overseen by John O. Enright and Ms. Littman. Victor Suthammanont and Mr. Daniels are leading the SEC’s ongoing litigation. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service have all been helpful to the Commission.

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Steve Anderrson
Steve Anderson is an Australian crypto enthusiast. He is a specialist in management and trading for over 5 years. Steve has worked as a crypto trader, he loves learning about decentralisation, understanding the true potential of the blockchain.

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