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Silk Road Founder Loses Appeal and Will Serve Life (yahoo.com) 145

OutOnARock quotes a report from Yahoo: Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the darknet marketplace known as Silk Road, has lost his appeal of a 2015 conviction that has him serving a life sentence on drug trafficking and money laundering charges, according to a federal appeals court decision released Wednesday morning. Ulbricht argued that the district court that convicted him violated the Fourth Amendment -- which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures -- by wrongly denying his motion to suppress evidence, and that he was deprived of his right to a fair trial. "On the day of Ulbricht's arrest, the government obtained a warrant to seize Ulbricht's laptop and search it for a wide variety of information related to Silk Road and information that would identify Ulbricht as Dread Pirate Roberts," states the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Downtown Manhattan. "Ulbricht moved to suppress the large quantity of evidence obtained from his laptop, challenging the constitutionality of that search warrant."
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Silk Road Founder Loses Appeal and Will Serve Life

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  • Sure, sure... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @05:47PM (#54521593)

    Sure, life is a bit much for these crimes. But what of this?

    March 2013 â" Dread Pirate Roberts solicits the first of six murders for hire, after a Silk Road user tries to extort money by threatening to reveal usersâ(TM) identities, according to prosecutors. (The killings were not carried out.)

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sure, life is a bit much for these crimes. But what of this?

      March 2013 â" Dread Pirate Roberts solicits the first of six murders for hire, after a Silk Road user tries to extort money by threatening to reveal usersâ(TM) identities, according to prosecutors. (The killings were not carried out.)

      It's been known that there was more then one DPR and Ulbricht denied it.

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      That wasn't what he was convicted of, though. There is one pending trial for solicitation for murder or something like that.

      • on the bright side, he's already serving life, so whatever.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          on the bright side, he's already serving life, so whatever.

          Yeah, and that leads to some perverted incentives sometimes. Like you will be going away for life for one murder or you got a 5% chance of killing all the witnesses and 95% chance of doing five life sentences but whatever. Once the expected punishment is so high your life is practically over if you get caught, only the chance to get away with it matters.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        True but what he was convicted of is sufficient. The other stuff just speaks of his character. He's not some libertarian hero, rather he's an asshole scumbag ready to murder people disrupting his business.
        • Scale (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Thursday June 01, 2017 @08:51AM (#54524771)

          True but what he was convicted of is sufficient. The other stuff just speaks of his character. He's not some libertarian hero, rather he's an asshole scumbag ready to murder people disrupting his business.

          I don't think the question is whether or not he's some sort hero. The question is if indirectly helping to distribute drugs, "computer hacking" and money laundering are worth a life sentence. According to Wikipedia, they brought up evidence of the murder conspiracy at the sentencing phase, which I completely don't understand - he hasn't been convicted of that yet.

          If he's found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder or whatever, then yep - he should probably go away forever. As it is, he's going away for a longer stretch then some people get for actually murdering someone.

  • Deterrence (Score:4, Funny)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @05:48PM (#54521601)

    Before Ulbricht was sentenced, prosecutors sent the judge a 16-page letter asking that in order to deter others he be given a lengthy sentence, one substantially above the mandatory minimum of 20 years.

    Welp, I was about to setup a knockoff silk road, but given the harsh treatment of this guy, I'd better not. Good job prosecutors!

    • Welp, I was about to setup a knockoff silk road, but given the harsh treatment of this guy, I'd better not. Good job prosecutors!

      Every how to write a business plan book should have a "going to prison" section under the "costs of doing business" chapter. Maybe some entrepreneurs will have a change of heart about the way they conduct business.

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      That sentence actually is troublesome. Note that I'm not commenting on the case in general, only on this particular bit.

      In my home country, and most of Europe, such arguments are explicitly illegal and if the judge is on his feet, should land the prosecutor in a big pile of trouble. One of the core principals of the legal system should be to judge the case at hand, and the case at hand only.

      People should not get harsher (or lighter) sentences because of external circumstances. They should not get more priso

    • Hi sentence was for more than just running a shady site. There was a long list of crimes he was charged with. Were you intending to copy them all?

  • Life? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @05:48PM (#54521605)

    Life... for running a website.

    Meanwhile rapists and murders are getting out at 2-3 years for good behavior.

    • by DaHat ( 247651 )

      What penalty would you suggest for someone who runs a website which facilitates illegal acts like rape & murder?

      • Re:Life? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @05:53PM (#54521651)

        You mean like craigslist or uber?

        • Re:Life? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @06:27PM (#54521871) Homepage

          Except Craigslist wasn't built (that we know of) with the primary intent of facilitating illegal activities, nor do they take deliberate steps to hide the identities of those doing such things, nor make available certain services in areas where it is illegal... and where the government has the ability to arrest & prosecute them.

          Doing so tends to incur the wrath of the powers that be, just ask Carl Ferrer. [npr.org]

          Regarding Uber... do you mean in the sense that they are an unlicensed taxi in some jurisdictions? Or some may use their service during the commission of a crime (ie take an Uber to go rape someone)?

          In either case, not much of a federal matter, and local municipalities tend to go after them for the prior (which rarely have criminal penalties associated), rather than the latter where they would be little different from a common carrier.

          What's next? A poor car analogy?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Silk road ONLY facilitated drugs.

        They banned weapons, even.

        No murder or rape was available or possible through it.

        Please keep using straw men, though.

      • And child porn, and human trafficking. I'm personally less concerned ethically about illegal drug use. But assassination as you mentioned, and child porn and human trafficking as I mentioned, cannot be considered "victimless crimes".

    • They really only get out that early if they're white and rich. This guy presumably made the mistake of not being rich.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        They really only get out that early if they're white and rich. This guy presumably made the mistake of not being rich.

        Easy way to get not-rich? Have the government steal^H^H^H^H^Hseize your assets before you are guilty of a crime leaving you with no money to defend yourself.

      • They really only get out that early if they're white and rich. This guy presumably made the mistake of not being rich.

        Hmmm....

        ...before the end of 2011, moving to Australia for a while and then San Francisco. He limited his splurges to a Thailand jaunt, where he indulged in "jungles and girls." Later, in a chat, he joked that he wished he could explain Silk Road to family and friends who couldnâ(TM)t understand why an apparently unemployed young man was so busy: "Iâ(TM)m running a multimillion-dollar global drug operation!' In addition to the diaries, he saved his chats, kept an Excel spreadsheet of his business and a Bitcoin âoewalletâ with $18 million on his laptop.

        Well, it was BitCoin, so not money? Apperently enough to fund a life without a treditional job that took him Thailand for "jungle and girls".

    • Life... for running a website.

      And soliciting the murder of six people.

  • Whether you are up to legal or illegal things... practice good op-sec, as the contents of your insufficiently protected PC can often be used against you in ways you may not want.

    • Whether you are up to legal or illegal things... practice good op-sec, as the contents of your insufficiently protected PC can often be used against you in ways you may not want.

      Heck it was the kids on Silk Road that inudated it with Adderall for sale post.

  • by Urinal Pube ( 4508429 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @05:52PM (#54521641)
    The poor guy never had a hope of getting a fair trial.
    • A fair trial by whose standard?
  • Life sentence (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 )

    He was given a life sentence for convictions on drug trafficking and money laundering. This should be unconstitutional except our cruelty has become usual.

    The convoluted wording of legalisms grew up around the necessity to hide from ourselves the violence we intend toward each other. Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill,

    • He also tried to hire hitmen for multiple hits. So, as far as I'm concerned, he should be getting at least as much as Madoff.
    • He was given a life sentence for convictions on drug trafficking and money laundering.

      I understand your objections but the sentence really reflects that he hired a hitman to kill six people. [wikipedia.org] They could give him a normal sentence and then try him for procuring murder but it's a waste of time and money.

      • Re:Life sentence (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @07:10PM (#54522127)

        "They could give him a normal sentence and then try him for procuring murder but it's a waste of time and money."

        Really? Seriously?

        So, you're entirely okay with a legal system recognizing the concept of precedent setting a precedent that money laundering or drug handling will lead to life sentences because actually prosecuting for the actual conspiracy to commit murder charge is too hard?

        • Are you OK with getting Al Capone for tax evasion?

          • Capone only served 7 years for his tax evasion. Still too harsh for the crime though. If you can't prove a crime, you shouldn't consider it in sentencing for a different crime.

      • Re:Life sentence (Score:4, Informative)

        by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @07:35PM (#54522253)

        Fifth Amendment: "No person shall... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

        If you want to punish him for hiring a hitman, you need to convict him first. This is the exact bullshit the fifth amendment is meant to protect against.

        • If you want to punish him for hiring a hitman, you need to convict him first. This is the exact bullshit the fifth amendment is meant to protect against.

          I agree that they are being lazy. I seemed to have inadvertently removed "by their logic" in editing my comment. #>_<

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        They could give him a normal sentence and then try him for procuring murder but it's a waste of time and money.

        have fun fighting your parallel constructed evidence that shows you soliciting for murder because they can't be bothered to...

        you know what - who the fuck knows who even solicited for what since he was hacked for a while without proper warrant?

        how about you get life sentence for jaywalking to "reflect that you wanted to hire a hitman to kill the president of the usa" - because it's a waste of money to prosecute you for the actual more serious crime you're being accused of to get the evidence for your jaywal

  • by WolfgangVL ( 3494585 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @06:03PM (#54521723)

    And safer too right?! It's in the public's interest to buy our $CONTRABAND from strangers, in person, down dark alleys. All that illicit safety found behind a keyboard was rotting our culture!

    Sure, he tried to have a few fellow criminals bumped off when they turned on him, but consider the lives silk-road saved from a lifetime of sub-par employment after being popped on stupid drug charges, the medical bills avoided when the large cash transactions went bad, how about the power stolen from the much more violent physical black market, and the funeral costs avoided by dropping the x/1 equation waiting at the end of the followed money?

    How about the dirty cops involved? where's that life sentence? That's an example better served, I think.

    Dread Pirate Roberts has just provided a perfect blueprint to tax the black market, destroy huge and powerful criminal orgs, provide safety and security to something we should have all decided we cannot stop a long time ago.

    He should be working in government.

    • by c ( 8461 )

      Dread Pirate Roberts has just provided a perfect blueprint to tax the black market, destroy huge and powerful criminal orgs, provide safety and security to something we should have all decided we cannot stop a long time ago.

      He should be working in government.

      He sounds overqualified.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @06:05PM (#54521733)

    And get 5 fucking years this guy gets life for this little bit of bull shit.
    We become more like China and Russia every day.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I believe eBay avoids some liability by saying they are just a place where auctioning is done.

    Did he setup the storefront specifically to sell illegal things?

  • ...money laundering charges...

    I'll be triple-checking my pockets every time I do the laundry from now on!

  • Each night, there won't be anyone telling him they'll most likely kill him in the morning.
  • Watch a documentary about him.

    I have doubts that he is (the only) Dread Pirate Roberts after watching it.

    Here it is: Deep Web [youtube.com]

  • we're currently selling arms to the Saudis so they can bomb the shit out of Yemen (Women, Children, Hospitals, you name it) and a guy that ran a web site and poses no further danger to the community gets life...
    • We should be bombing the Saudis for spreading Wahhabism. I mean, to be honest they kill a lot more of their fellow Muslims than they do Westerners, but any religion that teaches the killing of the insufficiently faithful is a religious duty for all its followers simply needs to be eradicated.

      Watching various Administrations handle them with kid gloves has been galling, but Trump has been especially provocative. The travel ban was a foolish move under any circumstances, but to enact a ban and not only exempt

      • 1) The travel ban was for failed states / war zones / places where we have no embassy so we can't vet anybody. You cannot call up the government of Somalia and ask them if Odobungo here is a terrorist because they don't have a government. So no, including Saudi Arabia in the list of "countries we can't vet people from" wouldn't make sense because it's at least technically feasible to vet people from KSA since they have a functioning government and we have an embassy there.

        2) Unless you're going to use nukes

        • The travel ban was for failed states / war zones / places where we have no embassy so we can't vet anybody

          So what? The argument was not that Saudis should be included in the travel ban for the same reasons, the argument was that they should be targeted for spreading terrorism around the globe.

          They're sitting around saying "man I sure am glad we have this Islamic government that punishes anyone who blasphemes Allah or draws pictures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)!"

          You'd be surprised at how much support for democracy/republicanism there is within various Islamic populations. Islam in its political aspects does sort of have issues with democracy, but

          And yes, the argument was "convert or die". If you believe God wants you to kill people who are less than perfectly faithful, to the poin

          • Look, my answer to Islam is Coulter's. I'm a traditionalist Catholic. If the Pope called for a crusade I'd be down. But I don't think that's a political reality.

            What's your answer to Saudi Arabia? Nuke them? Crusade? I don't think those are politically viable options. Pretty sure telling them "fix your shit" is as good as it's going to get.

            • If that's your answer to Islam, you're a moron. There are plenty of Muslims who are not jihadists, and the overall battle between the Muslim East and the Christian West has not only been over for two centuries, but it was won so completely that history books rarely even mention it.

              But since you ask, my answer continues to be that we should make war on the Saudis. Failing that we should treat them like any other state that promotes terrorism. Failing that we could maybe give them fewer hundred-billion-dollar

              • I'll let your ad hominem go because you're a faggot.

                So, you want to "make war on the Saudis." And then what? You defeat their government, and you now have 33 million muslims with no government. Oh and you're in possession of the holiest sites in all of Islam.

                If you grant them "freedom" to choose their own government, they're going to choose another Islamic government because the people like Islamic government. They're muslims. They want muslim government. Also, people tend to get a little testy after they'v

                • Why do you think I'd be opposed to another Islamic government? Haven't I been clear that my issue is with the jihadist extremists? Be as repressive as you like, just don't export terrorism.

                  But touching on those "holiest sites in Islam", it is worth noting that about 200 years ago those sites were invaded by the House of Saud, who proceeded to destroy the tombs of Mohammad's followers (as being too close to idolatry). You can imagine this move was not universally popular and is still not remembered fondly. I

                  • You may recall a few years ago some Wahhabists destroyed a pair of large stone buddhas in Afghanistan;

                    Is Afghanistan Saudi Arabia?

                    I don't mind Muslims killing other Muslims due to religious conflicts

                    So what's the problem with selling shitty outdated weapons to Saudi Arabia so they can blow up muslims in Yemen?

                    • Is Afghanistan Saudi Arabia?

                      No, one is the country in the Middle East with the largest Buddhist population and the other is Afghanistan.

                      So what's the problem with selling shitty outdated weapons to Saudi Arabia so they can blow up muslims in Yemen?

                      We shouldn't be doing business with jihadists. How do you not see a problem with that? How on Earth can you possibly carry blind partisanship to the point of supporting literal terrorists? What makes this better than doing business with Nazis? The hell is wrong with you?

  • would people do this sort of thing in the USA?

    There are much safer places to operate from.

    • by DaHat ( 247651 )

      No doubt because he, like many criminals, thought himself smarter than everyone else and so able to evade law enforcement.

      You are right though, there are safer places to operate from, though many of the ones he might want to live in are likely to have friendly law enforcement and/or extradition treaties... just ask Kim Dotcom and Julian Assange.

  • Casey Neistat did a review of "American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road" [amzn.to] by Nick Bilton. I haven't read it yet but looks like a good read.

    https://youtu.be/7-nzTfv5IZY?t=88 [youtu.be]

  • The big banks launder money all the time and usually if caught only get sanctioned or fined an affordable (for them) amount. Nobody goes to jail. This is just capitalism trying to clamp down on an increasingly popular alternative way of doing business. Links: https://www.int-comp.com/ict-v... [int-comp.com] http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/2... [cnn.com] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com] http://rense.com/general28/mon... [rense.com]

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