Silk Road webmaster Ross Ulbricht has written a three-page letter of contrition to U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, looking for leniency, as he awaits sentencing for his crimes. Ulbricht was convicted of seven counts against him, including but not limited to narcotics trafficking conspiracy, continuing a criminal enterprise, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. His conviction in February brought an end to the U.S. v. Ulbricht, 14-cr-00068 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (otherwise known as Manhattan).
Ross Ulbricht Makes a Final Plea for Leniency
Silk Road was a website that allowed a wide range of transactions to be conducted using Bitcoin as a currency of trade. Everything from writing jobs to illegal drug trades to murders for hire was alleged to have taken place through the website’s user network. Estimates range to over $1 Billion in revenue generated through these transactions from 2011 to the closure by the FBI in October of 2013.
“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit,” Ross Ulbricht wrote in his letter to U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest. “What it turned into was, in part, a convenient way for people to satisfy their drug addictions.”
The jury only took three-and-a-half hours to find Ross Ulbricht guilty of being the infamous “Dread Pirate Roberts” Silk Road alias mastermind. He maintained journals chronicling the misdeeds to be partaken through the site, and his laptop computer was also confiscated in an elaborate heist while he was at the library in San Fransisco, with more files incriminating him.
“In creating Silk Road, I ruined my life and destroyed my future,” Ulbricht, told Forrest. “I could have done so much more with my life. I see that now, but it is too late.”
Ulbricht had the potential to be anything he wanted to be, as he holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in material sciences. He has been in police custody since Silk Road was shut down, and he was arrested in October 2013.
“Even now I understand what a terrible mistake I made,” he said. “I’ve had my youth, and I know you must take away my middle years, but please leave me my old age.”
Ross Ulbricht asked Judge Forrest to give him a sentence that will provide “a light at the end of the tunnel.” He faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. His sentence will be handed down before Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 29th.
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