Apostolos Trovias is accused of selling stock tips, pre-release earnings reports, and deal information related to publicly traded companies.
- A Dark Web user, Apostolos Trovias 30 has been involved in fraudulent schemes.
- The SEC had detained the user for the sale of fake stock trading tricks by posing as an insider.
- The man developed “The Bull” as his visible name on AlphaBay and took payments only in Bitcoin.
In recent days, the U.S. Southern District of New York and the FBI’s New York Field Office unsealed a criminal indictment and complaint against Greek national Apostolos Trovias, who goes by the pseudonym The Bull on the dark web as well as on encrypted messaging and email services. Trovias accused of selling stock tips based on confidential customer trading information, pre-release earnings reports, and deal information.
He’s charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering, each of which carries maximum penalties of between 20 and 25 years in prison.
According to New York authorities, Trovias sold insider information to individuals in a variety of ways. From 2016 to 2017, he sold stock tips on the site on the dark web known as AlphaBay Market, which was the most significant criminal marketplace for illicit goods on the internet before it was suddenly shut down by the FBI.
Trovias wasn’t limited to AlphaBay, though and presumably had to find another medium for his activities when that site went away. Authorities say that between 2017 and 2020, he decided to go with the direct-to-consumer method and used encrypted messaging and email services to interact with buyers. One of his notable transactions included a pre-release earnings report from a publicly-traded company, which he sold for about $5,000 US in bitcoin.
The Dark Web users would lure his customers to marketplaces which include AlphaBay, ASAP, Nightmare along the Dream. Along with these marketplaces, Apostolos Trovias also built his own website so that it would be easier for him to fool more people and rope in new customers for his subscriptions.
In order to hide his payments from the government, he used cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The SEC hasn’t been able to figure out if the “tips” were received from another entity and if he was just a middle man or he simply made guesses.
In a news release about the charges, William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York field office, warned that his agency frequented the same places that Trovias did.
“The FBI operates within the Dark Web too,” Sweeney said. “[W]e don’t stop enforcing the law just because you commit federal crimes from behind a router with your keyboard.”