Friday, November 22, 2013

"Silk Road" Zillionaire 'planned to carry out six murders'

Ross William Ulbricht, 29, the man allegedly behind Silk Road, a black market website where users could trade guns and drugs, is now also accused of hiring a hitman to kill six people.

Ross William Ulbricht
Ulbricht was arrested on October 1 in San Francisco, accused of being behind the so-called hidden site, which has gained widespread notoriety for its illicit trading over the past two years.

Following his arrest, the FBI shut down the site and Ulbricht was charged with a number of crimes, including plotting the murders of two people. But last week, Ulbricht, who was denied bail over fears he could abscond, was accused by prosecutors of actually plotting to kill six people. Prosecutors say Ulbricht, who operated under the alias, Dread Pirate Roberts, hired someone named 'redandwhite' to carry out the killings.

However, the government was not able to confirm any of the six murders actually took place. Prosecutors suggest that Ulbricht may have therefore been duped into paying the fee of $500,000 Bitcoins to his hitman. A so-called hidden site, Silk Road used an online tool known as Tor to mask the location of its servers.

Visitors could buy and sell drugs and guns using bitcoins, a form of online cash. While many other sites sell drugs more or less openly, Silk Road's technical sophistication, its user-friendly escrow system and promise of near-total anonymity quickly made it among the best known. The popularity of Silk Road is said to have earned the site owner $80 million from commissions involving every sale.