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Two life sentences for one life

Read: 20523 Comments: 9 Rating: 14

Monday, October 7, 2019

People talk and write a lot about the Darknet. Sites that lurk in the dark web are never indexed by search engines and their locations are notoriously hard to discover. Criminals feel very comfortable there. And although cybercriminals promote their services on the surface web, it is the dark web where their illegal activities are rife. Weapons, drugs, child pornography and trafficking in stolen goods—information about all these things is found in abundance in the dark net.

However, the elusiveness of those dwelling in the dark net is grossly overestimated. For example, an individual behind Silk Road 2.0 was identified and sent to jail.

Ross W. Ulbricht received two life sentences without parole for selling illegal substances (the terms were to be served concurrently). The judge also sentenced him to five years in prison for hacking and to 15 years for selling forged documents. Another 20-year sentence was imposed for one count of money laundering.


However, this didn’t deter others. The new operator of the very same underground online marketplace was sentenced to prison.

The Liverpool Crown Court (UK) jailed the operator of the illegal online market Silk Road 2.0 to 5 years and 4 months for drug trafficking, money laundering and possessing child pornography images.


That operator came away almost unscathed.

Most interestingly, all of these criminal middlemen need to land behind bars to recognise their wrong doing:

However, I've learned since then that taking immediate action on one's belief, without taking the necessary time to really think them through, can have disastrous consequences.


I do not and never have advocated the abuse of drugs. … I never sought to create a site that would provide another avenue for people to feed their addictions.

But what happened?

Imprisonment was an abstract concept for me. I knew it was undesirable, but I didn't have a firm grasp on what it would actually be like. I have now learned that the absolute worst aspect is separation from my family and loved ones and the grief it has caused them.

In creating Silk Road, I ruined my life and destroyed my future. I squandered the enviable upbringing my family provided me, all the opportunities I have been given and the ones I have earned, and my talents.

And the conclusion:

You are charged with sentencing me to at least twenty years. As I see it, a life sentence is more similar in nature to a death sentence.

That pretty much sounds like the talk of inmates who idolise their mothers so long as they are bringing them things in prison and then completely forget about them after their release.

"My son, Ross Ulbricht, is a first-time offender serving a double life sentence without parole, plus 40 years, for a website he made when he was 26-years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross―an Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneur―had all non-violent charges at trial. This is a sentence that shocks the conscience", Ross Ulbrecht's mother wrote in the petition.

And, after all, people were found who voiced support for the criminal!

Over 114,000 people have spoken out on Ross Ulbricht’s behalf


According to his lawyers, Ross Ulbricht was never involved in selling drugs. He merely created a website that other people used for drug trafficking.


Some people believe that the US government used the trial to curtail the freedom of the World Wide Web and intimidate Bitcoin users.


No more, no less!

What did the judge say in response?

Mr. Ulbricht, you don't fit the typical criminal profile. You are educated. You have two degrees. You have an intact family. You have 98 people who are willing to write letters on your behalf. We have you and you're a criminal. That word may sound harsh to you—even today.

This site was, in fact, a carefully planned life's work. It was your opus. You wanted it to be your legacy—you said that in some of the communications introduced at trial—and it is.

…what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric. What you did was unprecedented, and in breaking that ground as the first person, you sit here as the defendant now today, having to pay the consequences for that. For those considering stepping into your shoes, carrying some flag, some misguided flag, or doing something similar, they need to understand very clearly and without equivocation that if you break the law this way, there will be very, very severe consequences.

A double life sentence and another 40 years in prison. Plus, he had to return $183.9 million to the government.

Ulbricht was convicted in February 2015 on seven counts. This includes for drug trafficking, which yielded $213.9 million in revenue, including $13.2 million in fees. He was also found guilty of 5 contract killings (although no telephone evidence of the hires was found)


And he was asking for leniency…

The Anti-virus Times wonders

Do you believe that those who help others sell stolen goods should also go to prison?

  1. Yes
  2. No, it's just business; they don’t know where the money and goods come from.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

Don’t forget—you only live once. Don't squander your life by doing things that may ruin your career and deprive you of your family and the life you are used to and leave you no chance to right the wrong you have done. Be vigilant and avoid any involvement with organisations involved in dubious and shady projects. In most countries, manufacturing, storing, and trafficking in drugs is punishable by law.

#cybercrime #hacker #legislation


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