DOJ accuses Dark Web user of selling information about insider actions –
Investigators approach a Greek native who sells unpublished stock information.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has laid civil charges against Apostolos Trovias in Manhattan, New York, claiming that Trovias told an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) secret agent posing as a client on the dark canvas that some stock market information he obtained was “sensitive” and “illegal to use or share”. Insider trading is the trading of securities of a public company on the basis of non-public information.
Manhattan US attorney Audrey Strauss said Apostolos Trovias, 30, of Athens, Greece, “identified himself online as ‘The Bull’ as he solicited and offered to sell information insider trading on the dark web AlphaBay market. Federal authorities recently unsealed an indictment against Trovias who they claim is a fugitive, accusing him of securities fraud and money laundering.
Trovias has been selling stock information since December 2016 after recording on the AlphaBay Marketplace and taking $ 99.95 per week or $ 299 per month from customers hoping to gain access to the information they had in their possession. The site operated for about six months, but then Trovias began using encrypted messages and email services to communicate with his customers. Among the data he sold was pre-released earnings reports from publicly traded companies.
The indictment also states: “At various times between June 2017 or February 2020, TROVAS sold inside information directly to buyers, using encrypted messaging and email services to communicate about the sale, rather than exclusively through the features of the Dark Web Marketplace. forums. For example, TROVIAS offered for sale and sold, among other confidential information belonging to various issuers of securities, for approximately $ 5,000 in Bitcoin, at least one backhanded preliminary earnings report from a publicly traded company. Strauss said: “Trovias tried to hide their insider trading system behind anonymization software, screen names and bitcoin payments.” Yet investigators were able to link the activity to his true identity.
FBI Deputy Director William F. Sweeney Jr. added, “Behind the veil of the Dark Web, using encrypted messaging apps and email, Trovias created a business model in which he sold, for profit, proprietary information from other companies, advice on stock trades, pre-exit earnings and other inside information, as we claim. The FBI also operates within the Dark Web, and as Trovias learned today, we don’t stop enforcing the law just because you are committing federal crimes behind a router with your keyboard.
The SEC said of the indictment: “Some of the more than 100 Trovias subscription customers were undercover IRS and FBI agents.” The agency added, “The SEC said Trovias agreed online last August to meet with two FBI agents posing as clients. When FBI agents said they were based in the United States, Trovias said he was too. This link is what allowed investigators to file a complaint.
The government is continually eliminating those who do business in the dark corners of the Internet. It is not known if Trovias has been arrested since he went on the run.