A SpaceX engineer pleads guilty to the Ministry of Justice's internal trade fees

A SpaceX engineer pleads guilty to the Ministry of Justice’s internal trade fees

SpaceX is based in Los Angeles, California.

Aaron B / Power Griffin | JC photos | Getty Images

An engineer at SpaceX has pleaded guilty to the Justice Department for insider trading, the agency announced Thursday, after information obtained on the dark web was used to trade public securities with non-public information.

The Justice Department’s criminal case against James Roland Jones of Hermosa Beach, California, came after an FBI investigation in 2017.

Government announcement The plea agreement specified that Jones was a SpaceX engineer, although the agency did not specify whether he was currently employed by the space company, and whether he did so at the time of the fraud.

Jones was simultaneously charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with “committing a fraudulent scheme to sell what it called“ insider advice. ”The SEC did not mention SpaceX in its complaint.

SpaceX, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

The Justice Department said Jones used the nickname “MillionaireMike” to purchase information – such as address, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers – on the dark web. The dark web, as defined by the SEC, refers to “anything on the Internet that is neither indexed nor accessible by a search engine like Google.”

Jones then used that information to conduct financial transactions on material undisclosed information, the Justice Department claims. The Justice Department said that in April 2017, a classified FBI agency provided Jones with “alleged insider information relating to a publicly traded company.”

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“From April 18, 2017 through May 4, 2017, Jones and the conspirator conducted numerous securities transactions based on this alleged inside information,” the Justice Department said.

The SEC accused Jones of anti-fraud violations of the Federal Securities Act. Jones agreed to a split settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in federal prison under his petition with the Department of Justice.

“This case shows that the SEC can go after violators of securities law wherever they are, even on the dark web,” David Bevler, director of the Fort Worth regional office at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said in a statement.

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