The United States Department of Justice (DoJ), and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), have arrested a dark web vendor called “The Bull”. The man named Apostolos Trovias was recently caught from the contents he posted for sale on the dark web as The Bull.
Apostolos sold the information on AlphaBay market, AlphaBay was seized four years ago. Law enforcement agencies went after Apostolos after he allegedly sold and sought potential customers willing to pay for “insider trading information.”
Apostolos used AlphaBay, and other dark web forums, including Nightmare Market, and Dream Markets he reportedly offered to sell stock tips and completed many transactions accepting bitcoin as payment.
But Unknown to Apostolos, his customers were undercover agents who were assigned by the IRS and the FBI, after his indictment. In 2017, before authorities seized and shut down AlphaBay, Apostolos allegedly sold an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent pre-release earnings report for at least one publicly traded company. He faces one count of money laundering (which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison) and one count of securities fraud, which could lead to a prison sentence of 25 years if Trovias is convicted.
According to the IRS complaint about the bull:
Between in or about December 2016, when he registered for the site, and in or about July 2017, when AlphaBay ceased operations, APOSTOLOS TROVIAS, a/k/a “The Bull,” the defendant, offered for sale, in, among other places, the “Fraud > Other> Other “ category on AlphaBay, stock tips that were based on non-public inside information about certain securities issuers and which could be purchased individually, on a weekly basis, or on a monthly basis for prices ranging from approximately $29.95 per tip to approximately $329.95 for a monthly subscription for tips based on non-public inside information.
Many people have been charged or convicted for crimes in connection with AlphaBay market. In February 2020, federal law enforcement charged Larry Harmon for allegedly running a $300 million bitcoin money laundering scheme.
Apostolos’s also attempted to own his own dark web marketplace because the previous forum he was been trading with kept getting shut down.