James Roland Jones was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with running a fraudulent scheme using illegal online marketplaces between 2016 and 2017. Mr Jones allegedly used insider trading forums on the dark web to advise his own securities trading, according to the complaint. The dark web is a secretive section of the internet that requires a special browser to access. This is the first time the SEC has taken action in connection with alleged trading breaches on the dark web. According to David Peavler, director of the SEC's Fort Worth regional office, "this case demonstrates that the SEC can and will pursue securities law violators wherever they operate, including on the dark web."
The SEC worked with the FBI on the investigation, which found that Mr Jones had been buying identity information on the dark web under the online moniker "MillionaireMike," including a name, address, date of birth, and social security number. These details were used to open and operate accounts in order to conduct financial transactions using publicly traded company insider information. According to a release issued by the Department of Justice on Thursday, an FBI undercover employee supplied Mr Jones with alleged insider information about a publicly traded US company in April 2017. Mr Jones and a conspirator conducted various securities transactions based on this alleged insider information from April 18 to May 4, 2017.