SpaceX employee James Roland Jones, 33, pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. In 2016-2017, he sold "insider tips" for Bitcoin (BTC) on darknet forums. Unfortunately, one of his partners was an FBI undercover agent.
Five years behind bars for "Millionaire Mike"
The Department of Justice released a statement regarding the results of an investigation of SpaceX engineer James Jones. According to the document, he opened numerous accounts on behalf of American citizens, whose IDs and sensitive information were sold on the darknet.
Then, he was contacted by the undercover FBI officer and bought from him what he expected to be "insider trading information" about an American publicly traded company. In April and May 2017, Mr. Jones initiated numerous transactions from fake accounts to "monetize" the information from the agent.
In Q3, 2017, Mr. Jones contacted the agent himself and revealed to him "insider information" about another publicly traded company. The two conducted another series of securities transactions; for some of them, the hijacked accounts of real people were used.
Now, the mastermind of "insider trading," who went by "Millionaire Mike" on special forums, faces five years in federal prison.
Modest gains, severe penalty
Mr. Jones is also being investigated by the U.S. SEC for selling "insider tips" on stock price dynamics. According to the litigation documents, he frequented darknet forums and offered gullible traders his predictions about which stock was going to rise or fall:
Jones would sometimes sell tips for the same stock in both directions. In the event his false tips did not pan out, Jones offered to give the next tip for free if the disappointed purchaser would leave a good review for Jones on the dark web site.
His services were paid for in Bitcoins (BTC). In total, he earned $27,000 for illegal activity in 2016-2017.
The officers of the SEC underscore that this is the first case in U.S. law enforcement history when an "insider" was caught on the dark web. Meanwhile, the documents have not disclosed whether he sold information about SpaceX or any other public company.