How the mighty have fallen. Ross Ulbricht, known by the online pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, was sentenced to life in prison this past Friday by Judge Katherine Forrest. This was even longer than the prosecution requested, and was a sure sign to scare those still involved with Silk Road 2.0 and other bitcoin based drug websites.
The founder and creator of the deep web drug trafficking site was arrested in October of 2013, logged on to Silk Road in the San Francisco Public library. The 29-year-old at the time was charged with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, and money laundering, following a lengthy investigation by the FBI's cyber-crime specialist team.
Silk Road's turnover was estimated to be worth around $1.2 billion in sales at the time, along with around $80 million in commissions. Now the court proceedings have finally gone through, and Ulbricht will receive the maximum sentence for a site that was directly correlated to six drug related deaths.
Ulbricht pleaded: “I’ve changed. I’m not the man I was when I created Silk Road. I wanted to empower people to make choices in their lives…to have privacy and anonymity. I’m not a sociopathic person trying to express some inner badness.”
You can read the heartbreaking letters from families of those that overdosed via Silk Road on VICE, whose testimonies were used in the case against Ulbricht. He was also fined $183 million, which the prosecution estimated was the amount of illegal merchandise that passed through Silk Road.
Ulbricht's attorney Joshua Dratel called the charges "Unreasonable, unjust, unfair and based on improper consideration with no basis in fact or law," and the defense is seeking an appeal. The reasoning behind this involves two DEA and Secret Service agents behind the investigation who allegedly stole millions of dollars worth of bitcoin from Silk Road, and one who sold Ulbricht inside law enforcement information and then attempted to blackmail him.
(H/T): Mass Appeal