Federal prosecutors and attorneys on Friday charged a man with securities fraud for allegedly selling insider stock information on the dark web site AlphaBay. The defendant also sold information through multiple criminal marketplaces and through an encrypted messaging platform.
In an indictment filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, Department of Justice prosecutors alleged that Apostolos Trovias, 30, of Athens, Greece, created an account on AlphaBay in 2016 and used it to advertise and sell stock tips until the dark web criminal marketplace was shut down the following year. Prosecutors said that using the pseudonym “The Bull,” Trovias sold the tips both individually and as weekly or monthly subscriptions, using Bitcoin to receive payments.
Behind the dark web veil
“Behind the veil of the Dark Web, using encrypted messaging applications 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, as we allege,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said in Friday’s news release. “The FBI operates within the Dark Web too, and as Trovias learned today, we don’t stop enforcing the law just because you commit federal crimes from behind a router with your keyboard.”