Clemency For Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life For A Website (#GotBitcoin)
This is a sentence that shocks the conscience. Clemency For Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life For A Website (#GotBitcoin)
My son, Ross Ulbricht, is serving a double life sentence plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole, 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 and no criminal history.
The website Silk Road was an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where individual users chose what to list for sale. Both legal and illegal items were sold, most commonly small amounts of cannabis.
Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for dealing drugs himself but for a website where others did. This is far harsherthan the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people.
Ross’s investigation, trial and sentencing were rife with abuse. This includes corrupt federal investigators (now in prison) who were hidden from the jury, as well as prosecutorial misconduct, constitutional violations and reliance on unproven allegations at sentencing.
Ross did not get a fair trial and his sentence was draconian. Justice was not served.
We, the undersigned, seek mercy for Ross Ulbricht. He told the court that Silk Road was a terrible mistake that he deeply regrets, that he never intended harm, and that he has learned the heavy price of breaking the law.
Ross’s life history clearly shows he is a compassionate young man with much to contribute. The judge received 100 letters attesting to his excellent character and how much he has helped others. These include those in prison, where he has tutored, led classes, and generally helped fellow inmates.
Keeping Ross caged for life helps no one; will cost taxpayers about $2 million; and deprives society of an exceptionally kind, generous and creative person.
Even in the face of his walking death sentence, Ross clings to the hope of a second chance and dreams of a future where he can be reunited with his loved ones, and use his education, knowledge and skills to give to his community and society as a whole.
Tim Draper Calls For Ross Ulbricht’s Release: ‘We Need Entrepreneurs Like That Guy!’
One of the most successful investors in the world is calling for the release of convicted criminal Ross Ulbricht.
Following up on a September 21 tweet by Tim Draper that was completely sympathetic to the imprisoned Silk Road creator, Fred Schebesta of the Crypto Finder video podcast took a moment to ask the billionaire his latest feelings on the matter. Draper gave an effusive response:
Free Ross, baby! Get him out. We need entrepreneurs like that guy! Get him out of jail! Why do we put these really extraordinary people in jail? We need their minds, their energy, their life force. Get him free. Who knows what else he could’ve come up with?
Ulbricht is serving a life sentence for his role in creating and maintaining the notorious marketplace that operated on the dark web and used cryptocurrency transactions to let people buy and sell contraband. When the FBI shut the operation down, Draper famously bought the nearly 30,000 BTC that had been seized. It seems Ulbricht has been close to his mind ever since.
“I get that he’s got to be an example, and he stepped over the line,” Draper continued, “but he’s been in jail for a while. Get him out. I cry when my cat goes into a cage, it tears my heart out when these prisoners go into cages.”
Ross’s Message For 250,000 Signatures
“A 1/4 million! I am touched and overwhelmed. This is a ray of hope in a very dark place. I am more grateful than you’ll ever know.” – Ross
This a drawing from Ross. Made in prison.
Thank you so much for all your support. We pray this is Ross’s last year in a cage.
Please continue to share Ross’s petition with your friends & friends. 300,000 here we come!
Silk Road’s Ulbricht Being Considered For Pardon By Trump: Report
U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether he should give the jailed founder of the defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, a pardon.
According to a report by the Daily Beast on Tuesday, the White House Counsel’s office is reviewing Ulbricht’s case documents.
The Daily Beast cites three sources familiar with the matter claiming the president has been reviewing cases ahead of his next round of pardons and commutations before the Jan. 20, 2021, inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
A final decision on Ulbricht’s case has yet to be determined, according to the report, but the notorious Silk Road founder reportedly has influential backers within the president’s inner circles pushing for a pardon, the report said.
“I’ve had documents forwarded to my contacts in the White House as early as February,” said activist Weldon Angelos, a former music producer and ex-federal prison inmate, cited in the Daily Beast article.
Weldon was quoted in the report as saying he had been contacted by Ulbricht’s family and was “hopeful” that Trump would commute his sentence in full, adding, “This case has perhaps more support than I’ve seen in any case of this kind.”
Ulbricht was the founder and main administrator of the dark web marketplace the Silk Road back in 2011 that used bitcoin as its main payment method for dealing in illicit contraband including drugs and weapons.
The Silk Road used Tor anonymity to hide the location of servers and drew the ire of law enforcement as the site grew in popularity and notoriety.
After a long investigation, Ulbricht’s online identity – Dread Pirate Roberts – was revealed and he was subsequently arrested, charged and convicted for money laundering, computer fraud and various drug charges. He is currently serving a double life sentence plus 40 years without chance for parole.
Ulbricht is considered a cult hero amongst some in the crypto community as well as political activists who argue that his sentence was unnecessarily harsh.
These Idiots We Call FBI Agents Use Outdated Law From 1960’s To Charge Bitcoiner For Conducting Person-To-Person (P2P) Transactions Which Are Totally Legal In Delaware, Texas and Wyoming!!!!!!
It appears that most US Citizens Could Potentially Be Sent To Prison As Well????????????
“In much the same way that the feds and states differ on cannabis usage, the Feds and the states are at odds about p2p (person-to-person) crypto usage,” said Mark Alexander Hopkins (AKA) Rizzn.
“Delaware, Texas and Wyoming are actively promoting p2p crypto usage in such a way that they’re manufacturing hundreds of thousands of felons (like me!) every day.
There needs to be a) clarity on how to be as compliant as possible and b) ideally a rollback of the overreaching guidance in the first place.” Mark Alexander Hopkins
FinCEN leveled similar charges against a California resident in April 2019, alleging they wilfully violated money transmission laws while working as a P2P exchanger of crypto and fiat.
However, the accused in that case faced only a $35,000 fine and was barred from similar financial activities — not prison time.
“I’m just a regular Bitcoiner caught in the crosshairs,” claimed Mark Alexander Hopkins, also known as Rizzn, prior to serving his prison sentence.
“Here’s The Thing That Makes This Important To Pay Attention To And Resolve: I’m A Nobody,” Said Rizzn:
“I’m not Ross. I wasn’t on the dark web. I’m not Edward. I didn’t work for the NSA. I’m not Julian. I didn’t break national secrets. I’m just a regular Bitcoiner caught in the crosshairs.”
Mark Alexander Hopkins, also known by the moniker Doctor Bitcoin or their handle Rizzn, has claimed that “transacting Bitcoin p2p is a federal crime” after announcing the sentence in their case to social media followers.
In a Sunday Twitter thread, Hopkins said that they were facing between 6-15 months at a federal correctional institution in Texas following a guilty plea for allegedly operating a crypto business without the necessary licensing.
According to Rizzn, the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, used a 2019 interpretation of a law — 18 U.S.C. 1960 — originally enacted in 1992 to charge them with illegally operating a “money transmitting business.”
“This means that any time anyone with a crypto trades p2p (i.e., not with an exchange), they’re legally liable under this statute as it’s currently interpreted,” said Rizzn. “In practice, this is a catch-all law.
I was originally suspected of being a kingpin in this particular scam, and when it was clear I was not, they were able to easily build a case that I had not registered federally before selling my bitcoins.”
So hey, I’m going offline for an indeterminate amount of time. I’m headed down to Beaumont FCI, where Uncle Sam will be footing the bill for my room and board for the next 6 to 15 months for the crime of selling #Bitcoin a few years ago. pic.twitter.com/2VwI2KEZ4N
The Bitcoiner, who said they joined the space in 2011, claimed that they were “one of hundreds of thousands of OTC traders” in 2019 amid a bad actor involved in an illegal lottery scheme using the trading group to launder funds with Bitcoin (BTC) purchases.
Rizzn claimed to facilitate fiat-to-crypto exchanges on behalf of the party — who they hinted did not know was being investigated for a crime — resulted in being targeted by U.S. authorities:
“I cooperated fully with the 15 armed FBI agents who raided my home in Oct of 2019. I wasn’t able to find a crypto-fluent attorney after I was raided in 2020 […] I was told that if I plead to the 18 USC 1960 charge, any actions against my family would be dropped.”
According to Rizzn, they were “fully registered as a Bitcoin seller with FinCEN” but the Justice Department still targeted them based on their involvement in the illicit transactions.
Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said at the time that Hopkins “ignored federal law and allowed fraudsters to use Bitcoin to operate under the radar of law enforcement” and did not take steps to verify the source of the funds involved in the transactions — between $550,000 and $1.5 million at the time.
Rizzn has disputed many of the Justice Department’s claims, saying that they performed the proper Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering practices.
Prior to entering prison, the Bitcoiner called for regulatory clarity between the state and federal levels in the U.S., seemingly in an effort to ensure other crypto users do not face the same enforcement action.
There needs to be a) clarity on how to be as compliant as possible and b) ideally a rollback of the overreaching guidance in the first place.”
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