Ross Ulbricht, the founder and operator of the $1.2 billion "Silk Road" online black market, has been sentenced to life in prison. As The New York Times reports, the 31-year-old man was handed his sentence by Judge Katherine B. Forrest. A minimum sentence would have been 20 years in prison.
In February, a jury in Manhattan federal court found Ulbricht guilty on all seven federal counts. Those included trafficking drugs on the Internet, narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, running a continuing criminal enterprise, computer-hacking conspiracy and money-laundering conspiracy.
Judge Forrest told Ulbricht that “what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric.” But in a letter to Forrest, which according to Vice the judge would late call an act of "arrogance," Ulbricht claimed not to have been seeking a profit with Silk Road, but instead making a political point, acting under the belief that “people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.”
Before the sentencing occurred, one parent whose child had died of an overdose from drugs purchased through the Silk Road implied that Ulbricht should be held responsible for such repercussions. Ulbricht did not face murder charges or murder solicitation charges although at trial evidence was presented to jurors that he paid a man claiming to be a Hells Angel $150,000 to murder a Silk Road user threatening Ulbricht with extortion.
Judge Forrest added that "It is still unclear to me why you ever kept a journal," a diary that proved crucial evidence in the prosecutors' case. Ulbricht’s defense team will appeal his conviction.