SpaceX Engineer MillionaireMike Decides to Plead Guilty to Insider Trading

Posted on 03/21/2021

James Roland Jones, a/k/a “MillionaireMike” (age 33, Hermosa Beach, CA), has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Jones faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. The dark web allows users to access the internet anonymously and, as such, has often been used to host websites and marketplaces that support or promote illegal activity. This is the SEC’s first enforcement action involving alleged securities violations on the dark web.

The DOJ press release states, “according to the plea agreement, from 2016 until at least 2017, Jones conspired with another to commit securities fraud. Jones, using the moniker “MillionaireMike,” purchased personally identifiable information (“PII”) on the dark web, including names, addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers. He used this information, in part, to open and/or operate accounts for the purpose of conducting financial transactions based on material, non-public information related to publicly traded securities, more commonly known as “insider information.”

In April 2017, an FBI undercover employee provided Jones with purported insider information related to a publicly traded, U.S. company (“U.S. Company 1”). From April 18, 2017, until May 4, 2017, Jones and a conspirator conducted numerous securities transactions based on this purported insider information.

In June 2017, Jones gained control of an investment account that had been fraudulently opened in the name of J.L.M. (“the J.L.M. Account”). In July 2017, Jones revealed to the FBI undercover employee that Jones had insider information related to a second publicly-traded, U.S. company (“U.S. Company 2”). From July 14, 2017, until July 26, 2017, Jones and the conspirator conducted numerous securities transactions based on this purported insider information, including some of which that were executed using the J.L.M. Account.”

The Tampa US Attorney’s Office identified Jones as a SpaceX engineer from Hermosa Beach. Jones’ alleged crimes don’t appear to involve SpaceX.

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