Silk Road Operator Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison

Ross Ulbricht has been sentenced to life in prison for the operation of Silk Road, the now-defunct online dark market.

AccessTimeIconMay 29, 2015 at 8:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:42 a.m. UTC

has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the operation of Silk Road, the now-defunct online dark market.

The sentence was handed down by US District Judge Katherine Forrest in New York today, capping roughly a year and a half-long legal process that saw multiple bitcoin auctions and the shock indictment of two federal agents involved in the investigation.

In addition to the prison term, Ulbricht has been ordered to pay nearly $200m. In a 28th May court filing, US prosecutors asked Forrest to require that Ulbricht pay $183,961,921 to the federal government, an amount tied to proceeds related to the operation of Silk Road during its active period.

During the hearing, Forrest is said to have rejected Ulbricht's contention that the site's creation was borne out of youthful naïveté.

“It was a carefully planned life’s work,” she said, according to a report by Bloomberg. “It was your opus.”

According to MotherboardForrest also questioned Ulbricht's decision to keep a log of his Silk Road activities.

"It is still unclear to me why you ever kept a journal," she said.

Ulbricht, who ran the marketplace under the name Dread Pirate Roberts, was convicted in February on seven charges related to narcotics distribution, computer hacking and conspiracy. Ulbricht's defense is expected to appeal the conviction.

Ulbricht wasn't the only person affiliated with Silk Road to be sentenced this week. In a Chicago court case, a well-known Silk Road vender known as "Super Trips" was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Cornelis Jan Slomp previously plead guilty to drug trafficking, according to a report by Deep Dot Web.

Separately, a Louisiana man was charged by the US Department of Justice yesterday with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit trademark counterfeiting. Beau Wattigney, 30, has been accused of selling fake coupons on Silk Road.

CoinDesk will continue monitoring this developing story and update this story accordingly. 

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