Here at CryptoCoinsNews we have been following the story of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged leader and criminal mastermind behind Bitcoin-dependent website Silk Road. The website was taken down by federal authorities in 2013, and Ulbricht arrested. The trial is set to begin this week, and the evidence against him has long since been released. Now, the actual charges and potential sentence are revealed, as he looks at life in prison for multiple counts and criminal offenses related to his alleged control of Silk Road.
Silk Road’s Ulbricht Faces Charges Including Conspiracy to Commit Murder
The most serious criminal charges revolve around Ulbricht allegedly using an alternate identity as Silk Road’s leader, under the handle “Dread Pirate Roberts.” The 30-year old stands accused of multiple crimes, including drug trafficking, narcotics trafficking, conspiracy to launder money, and computer hacking conspiracy charges. He also stands accused of six different murder-for-hire conspiracies. One of the alleged murder plots involved a Silk Road employee he believed had stolen over $300k in BTC from him. This particular murder plot is being adjudicated to Baltimore’s Federal Court, and the criminals cases will be tried in New York State. To all current charges, Ulbricht has plead not guilty.
Another alleged murder plot involves Ulbricht paying $150,000 to kill FriendlyChemist, a Silk Road user who was looking to extort $500k USD from Ulbricht . The prosecutors claim FriendlyChemist was threatening to publish a list of the names and addresses of Silk Road sellers and buyers to expose Ulbricht, unless he was paid off.
For those of you new to the Silk Road case, Silk Road was in operation from February of 2011 to October of 2013, when Ulbricht was arrested. His Bitcoin was thereby seized by the FBI. They recovered more than 140k Bitcoins from him, worth over $28 Million at the time. Silk Road was a website that facilitated the buying and selling of many legal and illegal goods. Well, over 10,000 different products and services were available at Silk Road’s peak. All of these were payable with Bitcoin.
Over its two plus years of operation, it is alleged by prosecutors in recent court filings that gross revenue reached over $1 Billion. Over $80 Million is alleged to have been generated in commission by Ulbricht and Silk Road.
Since Ulbricht’s Arrest… Silk Road 2.0 Has Risen and Fallen
Silk Road 2.0 was started by Blake Benthall, and he was arrested weeks later in November of last year, a year after Ulbricht’s arrest. Benthall used the Tor Network for online privacy, as Ulbricht did before him. Benthall’s arrest was part of a coordinated operation by 16 countries targeting the Tor network called Operation Onymous. Enforcement agencies have said they have closed over four hundred hidden web domains, arrested 17 people, and seized about $1 million in bitcoins through their investigations.
To follow the court cases by number, the murder-for-hire case is U.S. v. Ulbricht, 13-00222, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Baltimore). The criminal case number is U.S. v. Ulbricht, 14-cr-068, and the civil forfeiture case is U.S. v. Ulbricht, 13-cv-06919, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
Images from Shutterstock.