COURT DOC: Dark Web User Known As “The Bull” Charged In Insider Trading Scheme

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July 9, 2021

DoJ announced the unsealing of a criminal indictment and a criminal complaint charging APOSTOLOS TROVIAS, a/k/a ‘The Bull,’ with securities fraud and money laundering in connection with his scheme to solicit and sell stock trading tips and pre-release earnings and deal information regarding public companies.

Since at least in or about December 2016, APOSTOLOS TROVIAS, who identifies himself by the pseudonym ‘The Bull,’ has used websites on the Dark Web and encrypted messaging services to solicit and sell confidential, non-public information about publicly traded companies (‘Inside Information’) to enrich himself. TROVIASs scheme consisted of multiple related efforts to obtain and monetize confidential nonpublic business information, including (1) the sale of misappropriated stock tips based on confidential customer trading information; (2) the sale of pre-release earnings reports and deal information misappropriated from publicly-traded companies; and (3) the attempted creation of an online marketplace to connect, for a commission, individuals misappropriating Inside Information to individuals willing to pay for and trade on Inside Information.

For example, between in or about December 2016, when he registered for a Dark Web site known as AlphaBay Market, and in or about July 2017, when AlphaBay ceased operations, TROVIAS offered for sale and sold stock tips that were based on non-public inside information about certain securities issuers and which could be purchased individually, or as weekly or monthly subscriptions.

In or about 2020, TROVIAS also took steps to design and build a website to facilitate the purchase and sale of material, non-public information for use in stock trading (the ‘Inside Information Auction Site’). TROVIAS planned to use the Inside Information Auction Site to enrich himself by charging membership fees and commissions from individuals using the Inside Information Auction Site to engage in the unlawful trade of Inside Information. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

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