30 May 2015

Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht sentenced to life in prison

The man behind the Silk Road underground drugs website, Ross Ulbricht, has been sentenced to life in jail and ordered to forfeit more than $180m of cash raised from drug sales.

Ross Ulbricht admitted to creating Silk Road, but said he’d done so “to empower people”. The court heard testimony from families of some of the six people who died from overdoses of drugs linked to the site.

Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by a US court in Manhattan three months after a federal jury found him guilty of charges including conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking.

He was sentenced to life in prison for orchestrating a scheme that enabled more than $200 million of anonymous online drug sales using the digital currency bitcoin.

In creating Silk Road, I ruined my life and destroyed my future – Ross Ulbricht

Silk Road allowed users to anonymously buy drugs and other illicit goods. It generated over $214 million in sales in the process said the prosecution.

After two years of operating the website was shutdown in October 2013, when the FBI arrested Ulbricht.

Ulbricht’s defence said he admitted to creating the website but handed it to others after it became too stressful, He was lured back toward its end to become the “fall guy” for its true operators.

In a letter filed in court last week, Ulbricht urged the judge to leave a “small light at the end of
the tunnel” and said he recognized Silk Road was a “very naive and costly idea.”

“In creating Silk Road, I ruined my life and destroyed my future,” he wrote.