The day of sentencing finally came for Ross Ulbricht, better known by the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” and Judge Katherine B. Forrest made an example of him, sentencing him to life without the possibility of parole.
The founder of the Silk Road online marketplace will also have to pay an additional $183 million in restitution, the estimated revenue generated by the site.
Forrest stated that the purpose of the Silk Road was outside the law, that on it democracy didn’t exist, and that he was the captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts.
She also said that the “Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its creator was better than the laws of this country.
This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous.”
She placed no heed in Ulbricht’s plea for leniency, just moments earlier, where he said he was no sociopath, trying to express some inner badness; he was just trying to empower people, to get them to choose privacy and anonymity, to make their own choices.
The sentence itself is somewhat shocking. While the minimum sentence he could have received would have been 20 years in prison, life without parole is obviously a massive step up.
In fact, it is a much more sever sentence than what the prosecutors were looking for.
Judge Forrest said that what he did was unprecedented and that in breaking the ground as that first person, he had to suffer the consequences.
The case, as was well documented, was not without great controversy and scandal.
Two agents on the case, Shaun Bridges and Carl Mark Force, were show to have been corrupt, and are facing charges for bitcoin theft.
For Force, the charges are even more severe, he also has to deal with allegations that he was feeding information about the case back to Ulbricht under one of his many pseudonyms.
Ulbricht’s chief attorney, Joshua Dratel, was already looking for a retrial, on the grounds that the corruption invalidated evidence that was given, and will definitely look for an appeal of this sentence.
He also stated that he was “disappointed tremendously”.
While the door is not yet shut in the vast case of the Silk Road, we are definitely nearing the end.
The long sentence may be designed to act as a deterrent for future masterminds, yet the $183 million restitution is telling.
The lucrative profits to be made from dark web marketplaces will most certainly attract many more individuals, seeking to make their own Silk Road, and this time not get caught.
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