Peter Ward, AKA PlutoPete, Is Trying To Legally Reclaim Bitcoins From FBI’s Silk Road Seizure

January 31, 2014 18:21 UTC

Back in October many of the trolls and ents of Reddit muttered and mumbled to themselves about joining together in a class action lawsuit to claim pieces of the 29000 Bitcoins seized by the FBI on October 2nd, 2013.  The 29,000 Bitcoins taken from Silk Road servers on that day belonged to the international motley crew of buyers and sellers on Silk Road.  Many of those Bitcoins were tied up in escrow in ongoing deals, or simply sitting in the accounts of buyers and sellers waiting for withdrawal or use.  Nothing came of all the hubbub raised by Silk Road users about their Bitcoins being swept up in the Silk Road shut down, it was an accepted risk that everyone took when they decided to use a market known for illicit goods.  Essentially, no user of Silk Road, buyer or seller, had the proof to show that they only used Silk Road for legal purposes… Until now.

Meet Peter Ward, AKA PlutoPete, a former vendor on the infamous Silk Road Tor Marketplace whom only sold legal items.  Now he wants his money back from the FBI.

Peter Ward is a self-described psychonaut and cybertechnohippie

PlutoPete was first mentioned in the UK’s Telegraph as a man in his 50s from Devon being arrested on suspicion of distributing controlled substances in the wake of Silk Road’s shut down.  “Mr. Ward” has since been brought back into the spotlight by Andy Greenberg of Forbes.

However, as Peter Ward has sufficient evidence to prove, he only sold legal (in the UK) goods and substances through his vendor account on the Silk Road.  He sold bongs, marijuana seeds, salvia, king-sized rolling papers, and other borderline legal paraphernalia items to fellow Englishmen both through Tor on Silk Road and also on his Clearweb website.

He has since been released by the UK’s National Crime Agency (The United Kingdom’s FBI) and has not been charged with anything.  PlutoPete’s lawyer claims that as frequent conspirators, the FBI should already be aware of his legal claim on his 100 of the some 29000 Bitcoins held by the FBI in this wallet via their connection with the NCA.  Pete has engaged the services of Steven L. Kessler, an asset forfeiture lawyer, though complete legal proceedings have not yet started.

PlutoPete’s plan is to delay the FBI’s selling of their seized Bitcoins, which received a green light from a Manhattan court two weeks ago.

Given that the FBI hasn’t responded to the threat of “across-the-pond” legal action or even media inquiries to the FBI by Greenberg of Forbes into the matter, I  really don’t feel that Pete’s cause is going to slow the FBI down at all, but if you as readers wish to donate to his cause, PlutoPete is currently accepting Bitcoin donations on his Twitter account.

Last modified: January 31, 2014 20:14 UTC

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Caleb is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Economics, East Asian Studies, and Mathematics. He is currently pursuing his MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia.