Cyber criminal selling insider information of companies at stock markets is arrested

U.S. authorities have accused a man of selling confidential information about the shares of certain companies on the dark web platform AlphaBay. According to reports, the defendant also allegedly sold information through other illegal platforms and on an encrypted messaging platform.

Greek citizen Apostolos Trovias reportedly created an AlphaBay account in 2016 to provide advice for buying and selling shares until the platform was shut down a year later. Known as “The Bull”, the defendant offered his advice in the form of weekly or monthly subscriptions, charging a fee that was to be paid in Bitcoin.

William Sweeney, deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), gave some details about the defendant’s actions: “Through dark web and encrypted messaging apps, Trovias created a business model for selling private company information, stock trading tips and other confidential information.” Sweeney adds that the defendant illegally appropriated multiple reports on the financial statements of some companies prior to their public disclosure, allowing him to adopt a privileged position from which he made economic profits.

Trovias remained active on AlphaBay for about seven months, completing at least 45 transactions including the sale of dozens of “consultancies” priced between $30 USD and $330 USD. Authorities claim that the defendant also sold a financial report of a company that was not named for $5,000 USD.

After police shut down AlphaBay, the defendant moved his operations to Dream Market, where he remained active until a year ago when he decided to create his own dark web platform to offer his services. Trovias is accused of selling inside information of companies such as MobileIron, Inc., PTC Therapeutics, Inc., Illumina, Inc. and Analogic Corporation, among others.

Investigators identified Trovias using a blockchain analysis to monitor digital wallets linked to some of these transactions and arrested shortly after. The defendant faces one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering, facing a maximum penalty of up to 45 years in prison if found guilty of both charges.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.

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