After designing a website that would save its users from the clutches of the law, Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht will spend the rest of his life trapped behind bars.
Before the judgement was rendered, Ulbricht plead for leniency saying, “I’ve changed. I’m not the man I was when I created Silk Road. I’m a little wiser, a little more mature, and much more humble.”
Ulbricht’s words fell on deaf ears as he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in creating the online black marketplace of every criminal’s dreams. According to Wired, Judge Kathering Forrest “gave Ulbricht the most severe sentence possible, beyond what even the prosecution had explicitly requested.”
Forrest’s harsh judgement included a restitution payment of over $183 million. The government seized several pieces of hardware containing bitcoins, and the government’s sale of these coins will be applied to the debt Ulbricht now owes.
Ulbrichts defense attorneys have confirmed that they plan on seeking for an appeal in the case, calling for a new trial which will be based on recent revelations two Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration agents involved in the investigation allegedly stole millions of dollars of bitcoin from the site. One agent is even accused of allegedly blackmailing Ulbricht. The judge had ruled that the agents, based in Baltimore, weren’t involved in the FBI investigation led in New York.
Ulbricht’s lead attorney Joshua Dratel said that Judge Forrest’s sentence was “unreasonable, unjust, unfair and based on improper consideration with no basis in fact or law.”
Forrest seemed to be determined to make Ulbricht an example to others who might follow in his footsteps, cautioning, “For those considering stepping into your shoes…they need to understand without equivocation that there will be severe consequences.”