A jury today convicted Ross Ulbricht for being the architect of the infamous deep web marketplace Silk Road.
Ulbricht, 30, was arrested in October 2013, following a lengthy investigation by the FBI. Silk Road, an online marketplace designed to sell drugs and other illegal items anonymously with bitcoin, was shut down shortly thereafter and the bitcoins held by the site’s operators were confiscated by the Department of Justice. (They were later auctioned off and purchased mainly by Tim Draper–the same guy who wanted Silicon Valley to be its own state.)
The jury convicted Ulbricht of all seven counts. Charges included money laundering and drug trafficking. Sentencing is scheduled for May, with life in prison a possibility for Ulbricht.
Ulbricht had claimed that he had built Silk Road, but he was not the site’s notorious ringleader “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Ulbricht’s defense team claimed through the trial that he was merely the fall guy for a much more dangerous criminal mastermind. Nonetheless, the FBI asserted that when Ulbricht was apprehended, he was logged into the Dread Pirate Roberts account.
Jurors were apparently more convinced by the federal prosecutor than Ulbricht’s defense. It took only a matter of hours for the jury to reach its decision.JC