Apparently Hiring An Actual Hitman Online Is More Difficult Than Dread Pirate Roberts Imagined
from the 0-for-6 dept
The big news out of the latest filing from the government against Ross Ulbricht as the alleged “Dread Pirate Roberts” of Silk Road is that they’ve now upped the number of people he hired hitmen to kill from two all the way to six. As in the past, reading the actual government filing is fascinating, and will require a rewrite of whatever script Hollywood is currently rushing into production about Ulbricht’s story. Reading through the details, Ulbricht appears to have been more or less goaded into agreeing to “kill” four more people, after the guy who supposedly ran the hit on one of Ulbricht’s blackmailers told him that there were other people in on the blackmail plot. Ulbricht comes off as incredibly credulous and the guy he paid, a user named “redandwhite”, appears to have taken full advantage of this blind trust:
Two days later, on April 8, 2013, “redandwhite” offered to “hit [Victim-3] only” for “150 [thousand] just like last time.” However, “redandwhite” cautioned that, if they only took out Victim-3 and not Victim-3’s three co-residents, they would not be able to “do [the hit] at their place because there are always at least a few of them there . . . . So we wouldn’t be able to recover any of his things.” “redandwhite” stated that he would “prefer to do all 4” in order to have a “chance of recovering any potential product/money he may have,” adding: “Anything recovered would be split 50/50 with you.” “redandwhite” quoted Ulbricht a price of “500k USD” to do “all 4.” Ulbricht responded later that day: “hmm… ok, I’ll defer to your better judgment and hope we can recover some assets from them.” Ulbricht added that he had gone ahead and sent “$500k in btc [Bitcoins] (3,000 @ $166/btc)” to a Bitcoin address designated by “readandwhite” as payment. As with Ulbricht’s prior transfer to “redandwhite,” this transfer of 3,000 Bitcoins also appears on the Blockchain, confirming that it was in fact sent.
One week later, on April 15, 2013, “redandwhite” wrote to Ulbricht: “That problem was dealt with. I’ll try to catch you online [on a chat service] to give you details. Just wanted to let you know right away so you have one less thing to worry about.” Ulbricht replied: “thanks, see you on chat.”
Now, since five of the six “hits” were all “done” by the same guy — and those last four really look like him just taking advantage of a gullible Ulbricht — perhaps this isn’t so much about the difficulty in hiring a hitman online as it is about how easy it is to fool Ross Ulbricht. Still, it strikes me as somewhat revealing that someone could pay significant sums of money to conduct six assassinations, and not a single one of them actually occurred. Once again, not everything people claim online turns out to be true.
That said, there is so much more evidence now being presented against Ulbricht, including his journal that covers the whole plan from the start up until his arrest, that Ulbricht’s claims that it’s not him are looking very, very weak. It also appears to disprove the claim that has been made by some that Ulbricht didn’t start Silk Road, but was merely one in a line of DPRs. That appears to simply be a myth that Ulbricht used, playing off of his username and its namesake in The Princess Bride.