The U.S. Charges Apostolos Trovias, also known as ‘The Bull’ for Selling Inside Information on the Dark Web
The U.S government is still charging people linked to activities on the dark web. Remember, it is nearly half a decade after AlphaBay shut. Furthermore, AlphaBay was the most decorated dark web marketplace.
Selling inside information on the dark web.
Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Apostolos Trovias. He has been running a Ponzi scheme on the Dark Web. Additionally, Apostolos has been providing “insider trading information.” Besides, he is a Greek national who, ostensibly, had been using the nickname “The Bull”.
After AlphaBay shutdown, Apollo improvised. Consequently, he used encrypted messages and emails to communicate with buyers. A pre-release earnings report from a listed firm was one of his most incredible deals. In addition, the deal was worth $5,000 in bitcoin.
So, from 2016 through early 2021, Apostolos was allegedly selling information on the dark web. He pledged to willing buyers on the dark web marketplace. Apostolos, therefore, helped people gain an unfair advantage on the stock markets.
He utilized the Dark Web to meet buyers and sellers. Apostolos claimed to be supplying order-book data from a financial institution firm. Allegedly, the order-book data was handed to him by a firm employee. Subsequently, Trovias reportedly sold over 100 subscriptions to investors via the Dark Web.
The complaint alleges that Trovias sold the pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies in addition to order-book information. Plus, among Apostolos’ clients were at least one IRS agent and an undercover Intelligence officer.
Furthermore, Apostolos allegedly supplied the IRS agent with pre-release earnings information. Also, he did this at least two times in 2017 in exchange for Bitcoin. The data comes from Illumina and Analogic quarterly earnings reports. The documents also show Apollo mixed up part of the data on one of the reports.
On Apollo’s admission, this is a serious cybercrime. To use or share this information is sensitive and, more importantly, prohibited.
Apostolos' dark website
The Dark Web uses specialized search engines (TOR). Hence, the search engines obscure the identity of users. Consequently, the web can be a serious cybersecurity threat.
“Trovias’s alleged conduct was an attempt to evade detection by operating in obscure online forums”, said SEC Cyber Unit Chief.
So, Apostolos was trying to develop his Dark website. The reason may be because most of the sites he used were, eventually, shutting down.
And, according to police, he planned to target those visiting his site. In fact, Apostolos planned to charge membership fees and commissions. Furthermore, targets were those who used the information he gave.
Now, Apostolos faces two counts of serious cybercrime. Equally important, he battles a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison for securities fraud. In addition, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for money laundering.
The FBI say they still have the Dark Web on their radar. “The FBI operates on the Dark Web too”, said one Mr Sweeney. “We don’t stop enforcing the law just because you commit federal crimes from behind a router with your keyboard”. Mr Sweeney is the FBI’s New York field office’s assistant director-in-charge