Ross William Ulbricht was the brains behind a billion-dollar criminal enterprise on The Silk Road site where the buyers used Bitcoins to buy and sell drugs. He of course pled not guilty in a Manhattan Federal Court despite the evidence against him which includes several computer servers. He was however, indicted on four counts, which are operating a narcotics trafficking scheme, computer hacking, money laundering and being the mastermind behind a large criminal enterprise. The Silk Road site was a proven booming black-market bazaar that drug dealers used to distribute illegal drugs and launder millions of dollars in illegal transactions. Ulbricht specifically designed the site to use the Bitcoin-based system of payment in order to effectively conceal the identities and the locations of the active users.
Bitcoin Is not Currency
This is why he defends himself of the charges of money laundering by stating that only virtual currency was used in all Silk Road transactions and that no real money was used. Bitcoin which was used in the transactions isn’t real money. His lawyer was also quick to point out the ruling by IRS, which stated that Bitcoins are simply property and not currency. Joshua Dratel his lawyer, also stated in writing that Bitcoins which were the only means of payment on the site don’t qualify as “monetary instruments” and therefore can never substantiate the money laundering violation charges.
The FBI claimed that Ulbricht made use of Bitcoins in the site in order to camouflage drug related transactions, murder-for-hire plots and other criminal services. However, Dratel the lawyer dismisses the claims by stating that Ulbricht shouldn’t be liable for any criminal deals carried out by the online customers on the site whether he operated the site or not since he didn’t sell anything himself. He further backs up his defense by saying that no landlord has ever been prosecuted for renting his property to a drug kingpin. Or that no internet service provider has ever faced charges for the use of the service by criminals to carry out online criminal activities. That is how Ulbricht’s lawyer tries to get the case dismissed.