Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HUGE Alleged Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht Hit With New 'Kingpin' Charge, Another 20 Years Minimum Prison Time

Andy Greenberg at Forbes reports:

Four months after FBI agents arrested Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of the Silk Road online black market for drugs, he’s finally been formally indicted. And prosecutors have thrown in a serious new charge that’s usually reserved for not just common criminals, but mafia dons and drug cartel kingpins–with an extra 20 years minimum prison time attached to it.

In the indictment released Tuesday, Ulbricht is charged with not only engaging in a narcotics, hacking and money-laundering conspiracy, but a “continuing criminal enterprise,” a charge sometimes referred to as the “kingpin statute.” That law applies to alleged criminal organizations with six or more members organized by a single leader. And it brings Ulbricht’s potential minimum prison sentence to 30 years when added to the 10-year minimum sentence associated with the narcotics conspiracy charge. Both charges also carry a maximum sentence of life in prison[...]

If the new charges against Ulbricht stick, however, they may provide more motivation for the 29-year old from Austin, Texas to plea bargain in exchange for information about others allegedly involved in the Silk Road’s business. In December, another three alleged administrators of the site were arrested. And last month two more individuals were charged with money laundering related to Silk Road, including Bitcoin Foundation vice chairman Charlie Shrem. The Dread Pirate Roberts is said to have demanded that his employees reveal their identities to him, while he closely guarded his own, putting him in a position to potentially reveal more of his employees to law enforcement.

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