SEC reaches settlement with TheBull in insider trading fraud case
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is about to close its case against Apostolos Trovias, also known as TheBull. This becomes clear from a settlement agreement letter filed by the regulator with the New York Southern District Court on July 19, 2022.
The document, seen by FX News Group, represents a motion by the SEC for approval of a proposed final consent judgment with Apostolos Trovias.
The SEC commenced this action against Trovias, a Greek citizen, on July 9, 2021, alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder in connection with Trovias’s scheme to sell purported “insider trading tips” on Dark Web marketplaces.
As reflected in the Consent and proposed Final Judgment, the SEC staff and Trovias agreed to resolve the Commission’s claims by entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining Trovias from future violations of Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Exchange Act, as well as enjoining him from operating any website that permits the offer, sale, or purchase of nonpublic information concerning the issuers of publicly traded securities and orders disgorgement in the amount of $5,320, plus prejudgment interest thereon in the amount of $1,382.49, to be deemed satisfied by the criminal forfeiture order in the related criminal action U.S. v. Trovias.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least December 2016 through early 2021, Trovias—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.
As alleged in the complaint, Trovias claimed that the information he was selling consisted of 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 complaint further alleges that Trovias acknowledged to federal authorities that this information was “sensitive and more importantly illegal to use or share.”