Mad Scientist! A SpaceX Engineer Pleads Guilty To Trying To Sell Inside Information On The Dark Web.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company's Crew Dragon capsule attached, sits on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Four astronauts will fly on the SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station scheduled for launch on Nov. 14, 2020 (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

There is often something to question about a guy who chooses “MillionaireMike” as his online persona.

U.S. prosecutors did question this particular incarnation, a SpaceX engineer, and “Mike” now has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that, from 2016 to 2017, James Roland Jones, aka “MillionaireMike,” illegally purchased names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers to open a fraudulent brokerage account. 

Jones was buying information off the “dark web” with the goal of profiting from illegal tips about companies. He traded on those tips, according to the statement, which also included these specifics:

  • In April 2017, an undercover FBI employee sold Jones purported insider information about a publicly traded company in the US, the DOJ said.
  • Jones and another conspirator the DOJ didn’t identify made numerous securities transactions between April 18, 2017 and May 4, 2017, based on the company insider information. 
  • Jones, 33, is based in Redondo Beach, Calif. 

SpaceX — full corporate name: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — is the aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company founded by Elon Musk.

In a parallel civil case, the SEC accused Jones of a scheme to sell what he falsely claimed were insider tips, with the regulator saying it was its first-ever enforcement action tied to securities law violations on the dark web.

“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 SEC’s Fort Worth regional office, said in a statement.

Jones has not yet been reached for comment.

The term “dark web” refers to a subset of the internet – users are able to operate anonymously — requiring specific software to access content.

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