James Ronald Jones, a 33-year-old SpaceX Engineer or as the Darknet knows him “MillionareMike” was caught by the FBI when trying to sell insider information to an undercover agent. Jones allegedly ran a dark web account where he had running a ‘stock tip scam’ that has earned him a cool $27,000 in Bitcoin. Jones started in 2016 by buying names, addresses, date of birth, and even Social Security numbers from the dark web to use for his scam.
The 33- year-old (now former) SpaceX Engineer plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. According to an Official Criminal Complaint made with the Justice Department (DOJ) Jones had already been making trades at the beginning of 2017 through unnamed accounts based on false insider information provided by the undercover FBI Agent. Jones and a co-conspirator “gained control of of an investment account that had been fraudulently opened” and conducted transactions on that purported info, as well as other purported insider information on a second company, according to the DOJ.
And then it backfired..
During the summer that followed Jones would offer the undercover fed a chance to invest in his unnamed company for a chance to earn $5,000. The FBI agent agreed, 48 hours later Jones returned to the FBI agent with an identical profit to match his ‘promise’. The Department of Justice laid out the entire scheme to Wired where it wasn’t seen as something specifically unusual. However, the DOJ’s further research outlines Jone’s activities and makes it the first investigation of it’s kind in which the DOJ dives into financial trade dealings on the Dark Web.
Jones first entered into the dark web insider trading world in 2016 when he found a random darknet wiki website that listed a few darknet marketplaces that were active at the time. Since then Jones also started peddling fake insider tips in exchange for Bitcoin payments. Jones found one forum that even advertised itself as:
A community for exchanging certain insider information about some different Publicly Traded Companies.
Along with products and description that read: How to Beat Wall Street! The price of entry into the forum was to provide genuine insider information.
Some of these forums, however, dont have a free or lifetime membership. Being and staying a member required Jones to give insider information which he could not do. Moderators revoked his membership after three months. He was then shortly caught by an FBI undercover agent after trying to peddle fake insider tips on the Darknet in exchange for Bitcoin payments.