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A SpaceX engineer who called himself “MillionaireMike” has pleaded guilty to insider trading using information he bought on the dark web, the feds said.
James Roland Jones faces up to five years in prison for the trading schemes he committed roughly four years ago, according to Florida federal prosecutors who brought the case.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a separate complaint accusing Jones of selling bogus “insider tips” in what the agency called its first enforcement action against alleged securities crimes on the dark web.
The Tampa US Attorney’s Office on Thursday identified Jones as a SpaceX engineer from Hermosa Beach, California, but did not say when he worked at the rocket-builder or how long he was there.
A link to Jones’ LinkedIn profile describes him as a “Level II Manufacturing Engineer” at the Elon Musk-led company, but the rest of the profile has apparently been deleted.
His alleged crimes don’t appear to involve SpaceX given that it’s a privately held company. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Jones used his “MillionaireMike” moniker on the dark web to buy names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal information, the feds said. He allegedly used those details to set up bogus investment accounts for the purpose of trading securities based on non-public information.
Jones made several such trades after an undercover FBI worker gave him a purported tip about a publicly traded company in April 2017, according to prosecutors.
About three months later, Jones told the FBI worker that he’d gotten inside info about a different company that he used to make more trades over a roughly two-week period, the feds alleged.
Jones also signed on to a dark web marketplace where he sold info he “falsely described as material, nonpublic information” in exchange for bitcoin, according to the SEC, which said it reached a settlement with Jones.
“This case shows that the SEC can and will pursue securities law violators wherever they operate, even on the dark web,” David L. Peavler, director of the regulator’s Fort Worth regional office, said in a statement.
A lawyer for Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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