Feeds

'Dread Pirate Roberts' suspect's bid for freedom fails

'Bitcoin isn't money' argument laughed off by judge

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ross Ulbricht has lost his bid to have money-laundering and other charges dismissed.

According to Reuters, the man accused of being Silk Road's “Dread Pirate Roberts” tried to slip from under the money-laundering charge on the basis that Bitcoin isn't money, but property. That argument didn't impress US District Judge Katherine Forrest of Manhattan, who in a 57-page opinion wrote that American money-laundering law “captures all movements of 'funds' by any means”.

“The only value for Bitcoin lies in its ability to pay for things”, she went on. “The money laundering statute is broad enough to encompass use of Bitcoins in financial transactions. Any other reading would … be nonsensical”.

Ulbricht's attempt to have the conspiracy charges against him dismissed was also denied by the judge.

His lawyers had argued that Silk Road was merely “a facilitator – just like eBay, Amazon, or similar websites”. This, Judge Forrest said, did not preclude a charge of conspiracy: “there is no legal prohibition against such criminal conspiracy charges provided that the defendant possesses (as the Indictment alleges here) the requisite intent to join with others in unlawful activity.”

Because “Ulbricht is alleged to have knowingly and intentionally constructed and operated an expansive black market”, the judge said, his behaviour is different from a Website launched for legitimate purposes, but which becomes (against its intentions) a market for illegal transactions.

“The allegations amount to Ulbricht acting as a sort of 'godfather' - determining the territory, the actions which may be undertaken, and the commissions he will retain; disciplining others to stay in line, and generally casting himself as a leader”, the judge stated.

Ulbricht remains in custody, Reuters reports, and will be back in front of the court in November 2014. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.