Almost 5 years after the collapse of AlphaBay, U.S. authorities are still investigating. Operations related to the now defunct market are still ongoing with arrests taking place all the time.
About the Charges
Just recently, U.S. authorities revealed their charges against a Greek national named Apostolos Trovias. The man allegedly used insider information purchased on the dark-net for illicit gains.
The latest arrest comes in sharp contrast compared to normal criminal targets. Drug dealers, weapon traffickers and cyber-criminals are the normal targets. Trovias on the other hand, used Alphabay to connect with people willing to buy or sell insider trading information.
The legal complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed the accusations of the 30 year old. He is reportedly accused of securities fraud and money laundering. This is for selling insider trading information to people using the dark-net. He received payments for the information in the form of cryptocurrency.
The SEC report revealed that Trovias was hiding behind the name "The Bull". He was pretending to work in an office, as an employee of a trading firm. He used this false pretense to sell stock tips, and unpublished earnings reports to the dark-net. People with a monthly subscription could freely access the information. The subscription was priced at nearly $330 US. Tips could also be purchased individually for nearly $30 US.
Investigations also revealed that Trovias also established his own website. This website was also used to sell the insider information. Despite having his own site, he still mostly operated on different dark-net platforms.
Reportedly, the man sold confidential information belonging to a number of securities insurers. It was also reported that in 2017 alone, he received roughly $5,000 US in Bitcoin.
Trovias’ criminal career came to an end fairly quickly. Following a well-coordinated law enforcement operation, authorities were quick to apprehend the suspect. Agents from both the FBI and IRS participated in the operations.
The undercover officers have purchased stock tips from the man back in 2017. The court document states that the defendant sold unreleased earning documents for two US-based firms . The report acknowledges that this was done for profit.
According to documents that were filed in the Southern District of New York, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking Trovias. The defendant, currently in Peru, faces the risk of extradition to the US. One court has already charged the suspect with a count of securities fraud and money laundering.
The judicial guidelines on the sentencing place a harsh maximum penalty. Up to 25 years in prison for securities fraud, and another 20 for money laundering. This means the suspect is facing a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.
After the collapse of AlphaBay
The indictment against Trovias, a former dark-web operator is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AlphaBay. Since the seizure of the market, authorities have been systematically targeting users of the market. The notorious platform facilitated drugs, weapons and cyber-criminal products. This gives the police a great opportunity to target all ranges of crime.
AlphaBay was dismantled by one of the best-coordinated, international law enforcement operations. Police from all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, and Thailand took part in the operation. At it's peak, AlphaBay was the largest dark-net market and hosted hundreds of thousands of users.
The latest events, surrounding Trovias, represent a new approach the government is taking in the fight against crime. Authorities were always focused on drugs, human traffickers, weapons and more destructive cyber-crimes. This insider trading indictment is a first.
Moving forward we expect to witness more law enforcement operation targeting unique listing. As the dark-net is used for more crimes than ever, we expect the government to start setting a lot of new examples in different sectors.