Last Updated: July 15, 2021
In a 9th July 2021 press release, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicted Apostolos Trovias for insider trading on the Dark Web. That was after the organization investigated then filed a complaint against the 30-year-old Greek national for the crime spanning from Dec 2016 to Mid 2021.
Under the pseudonym “The Bull,” Trovias was able to sell tips to Dark Web purchasers giving them an unfair advantage. He positioned himself as the “hedge fund insider” who worked as a trading branch’s clerk.
In a post on AlphaBay, he claimed to have information on Over the Counter (OTC), NASDAQ, NYSE stocks. Throughout the scheme, he managed to make 100+ sales on AlphaBay, which consisted of one-time ($29.95), weekly ($99.95), and monthly plans ($329.95).
The complaint disclosed that he requested bitcoin payments in exchange for the pre-release earnings reports.
Investigating Undercover Team
In 2017, the Federal Investigation Unit (FBI) formed a cell that posed the Bull’s customers.
The Supervisors were the Cyber Unit of the SEC Enforcement Division chief Kristina Ms. Littman and Jon O. Enright. Junior members consisted of Morgan B, Ward Doran, and John Daniels during the investigation.
After one month, the unit shut down Alpha and accessed the pseudo account’s log files.
Thanks to them, it was discovered that he had quarterly earnings of companies listed in the stock exchange, such as Dassault Systemes, Analogic Corporation, and Illumina. They also found that he had details on acquisitions and mergers.
Surprisingly, Trovias didn’t relent after the feds shut down the Dark Web site. He went on to create another account on yet another unscrupulous marketplace – Dream Market.
After the finding of unlawful conduct, SEC accusations indicted Trovias for violating the anti-fraud securities law. In the complaint, SEC highlighted disgorgement, injunctive relief, penalties, and prejudgment interests.
The Southern New York Attorney’s Office also filed criminal charges.
According to Ms. Littman, “The Bull” was determined to dodge the keen eye of the feds. That’s the reason he went to dubious online forums. But she assured everyone that no matter how well perpetrators tried to cover their tracks, the SEC would still capture them.
Every day, corporations encounter about 2.5K insider threats. Hackers often post their findings on the Dark Web, where they have posted 133 000+ details of fortune 1000 executives. To avoid such situations, companies should check their hires by using background check services.