SEC charges Apostolos Trovias for insider trading tips on Dark Web

Rick Steves

The complaint alleges that, in addition to order-book information, Trovias sold the pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Apostolos Trovias with perpetrating a fraudulent scheme to sell what he called “insider trading tips” on the Dark Web.

From at least December 2016 through early 2021, the Greek man, operating under the pseudonym “TheBull”, engaged in a deceptive scheme to offer and sell so-called “insider trading tips” on Dark Web marketplaces to purchasers whom Trovias offered an unfair advantage for trading securities in the public markets.

He claimed that he was selling order-book data from a securities trading firm that was provided to Trovias by an employee of the firm.

Trovias allegedly sold those “tips” through one-off sales, as well as weekly and monthly subscriptions. Trovias allegedly sold over 100 subscriptions to investors via the Dark Web over the course of the scheme.

The complaint alleges that, in addition to order-book information, Trovias sold the pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies.

The defendant acknowledged to federal authorities that this information was “sensitive and more importantly illegal to use or share.”

The Dark Web facilitates anonymity by obscuring users’ identities, thus allowing users to purchase and sell illegal products and services.

Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, said: “Trovias’s alleged conduct was an attempt to evade detection by operating in obscure online forums. As this case demonstrates, the SEC will continue to target misconduct wherever it occurs and regardless of perpetrators’ efforts to hide their tracks.”

Trovias was charged with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The Southern District of New York AG has filed criminal charges against him, in a parallel action.

The SEC’s first enforcement action involving alleged securities violations on the dark web saw the light of day in March 2021. James Roland James was charged with selling what he called “insider tips” on the dark web.

The alleged fraudulent scheme started in late 2016 and lasted for nearly a year. Mr. Jones accessed various dark web marketplaces, including an “insider trading forum”, in search of material for his own securities trading.

In order to gain access, Mr. Jones lied about possessing material, nonpublic information. His time inside the forum didn’t last long and he was unsuccessful in obtaining valuable material, but then he devised a scheme to sell purported insider tips to others on the dark web, the complaint alleges.

The SEC argued that James Roland Jones “offered and sold on one of the dark web marketplaces various purported “insider tips” that he falsely described as material, nonpublic information from the insider trading forum or corporate insiders”.

The complaint alleges several users paid Bitcoin to purchase Mr. Jones’ tips and ultimately traded based on his false information.

Read this next


FIA EXPO 2022: Interview with Trading Technologies

The derivatives trading industry has gathered in Chicago to attend the FIA EXPO 2022 on 14-15 November. 

Market News

What’s moving markets for the week ahead 

The US labor market and the OPEC+ meeting are the most important variables for next week.

Digital Assets

Payments innovator BVNK acquires SPS Ltd to become UK EMI licensed operator

“We believe that regulated, fiat-backed stablecoins combined with the best parts of traditional payments will provide the infrastructure needed to deliver this vision. We will continue to obtain new licences and build out our capabilities to provide our customers with an unparalleled offering.”


Innovations in Technology and the User Experience — A MarksMan Update

MarksMan Liquidity Hub, the go-to platform for crypto spot liquidity solutions, has just unveiled an exciting update with new UI/UX features.


Alveo adds Sentiment indicators, Tax, and Regulatory Risk data from SIX

“Market participants increasingly need on-demand access to our vast catalogue of global financial and investor protection related data.”


B2C2 taps KX to enhance analytics for institutional crypto

“KX technology is proven in enhancing a broad range of mission-critical data and trading systems across front, middle and back-office operations for the majority of the world’s leading tier-one banks, brokerages, and investment firms.”

Executive Moves

ADVFN appoints Amit Tauman as CEO

ADVFN operates global financial information websites for retail investors.

Institutional FX

HKEX launches Hang Seng TECH Index Futures Options, adds after-hours session

“The launch of the Hang Seng TECH Index Futures Options and enhancements to the broader suite of Hang Seng TECH Index derivatives today will provide global investors even more choice and flexibility, helping them to successfully manage their portfolios and risks.”

Industry News

Finastra opens Center of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur

Finastra has expanded its footprint by opening a Center of Excellence (COE) at Malaysia’s MRANTI Technology Park in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.