Silk Road Vendor Who Says He Never Sold Anything Illegal Wants His Bitcoins Back

from the this-could-get-interesting dept

A former Silk Road vendor by the name of Peter Ward is apparently preparing a lawsuit to demand the return of his Bitcoins, which are now owned by the US government after the seizure of Silk Road last year. According to Andy Greenberg at Forbes:

On Thursday, Ward began the process of retaining a lawyer to file a claim for what he says were 100 bitcoins–worth around $95,000 at current exchange rates–seized by the FBI in the takedown of the Silk Road online black market for drugs last October. Unlike most of Silk Road’s sellers, Ward says he earned his bitcoins through entirely legal means, offering the same merchandise that he advertises on the public Internet from his head shop Planet Pluto in Devon, England.

“I’m probably in a unique position in that I can prove my coins came from selling legal items,” says Ward, who argues his wares included only drug accessories and UK-legal substances like salvia and the morphine-like kratom. “I sold on Silk Road because it had a large user base that matched my target customers. Where better to sell king-size rolling papers?”

It turns out that soon after the Silk Road takedown, he too was arrested in the UK, having all of his electronics seized. It likely complicates matters that he also had some cocaine and marijuana at his home when he was arrested. However, he insists that nothing he sold online was illegal, and he has been released on bail and not charged with any crimes.

The legal issues here will get complicated fast, made much more complicated by the mess that is the US’s seizure and forfeiture laws, a set of laws that are both exceptionally complicated and regularly prone to abuse by law enforcement — effectively allowing them to steal whatever they want at will, and then sell off to help their agency/police department profit in the process.

That said, in the mess of those laws, there are some very specific things that law enforcement needs to do in order to keep the property they seize and forfeit, and law enforcement isn’t always known for following those specific rules. I imagine that the DOJ’s response will be to try to quickly dismiss any such case, noting that anything remotely touching Silk Road is somehow tainted and associated with a criminal act, but that may be harder to back up in court if it ever gets that far.

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Comments on “Silk Road Vendor Who Says He Never Sold Anything Illegal Wants His Bitcoins Back”

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34 Comments
G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Bail doesn’t just mean money has been payed as a guarantee.

You can also be on unconditional bail on recognisance

which basically means its a non monetary bond of good behaviour where an individual undertakes to observe and/or meet some condition(s).

Can be used if the court would most likely summon someone as a material witness and that witness has a reasonable risk of non attendance

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

hate enter key working weird)

… Or as in this case it is used for by the Police as an after arrest bail if no charge has been laid though an investigation is ongoing. The person has a duty to return to police station for questioning (they don’t have to specifically answer questions just attend) if the police have further evidence JUSTIFYING an arrest.

Here’s the actual UK Act and part describing it for those interested/bored šŸ˜‰ http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/47/enacted

out_of_the_blue says:

"noting that anything remotely touching Silk Road is somehow tainted and associated with a criminal act"

Funny how that works.

Again, this is NOT an anomaly swept up by rare circumstance, but someone who was out on the margins knowingly and at length, willingly associated with obvious drug dealing, and the only answer reasonable is “BOOHOO”.

It’s also amazing how closely “libertarians” associate with drug use. Anyone who devotes themselves to dulling their humanity with drugs deserves no sympathy from anyone who wishes to save civilization from the many other kinds of savages.

This isn’t bad case making bad precedent, it’s bad actors getting well-known and routine sanctions for clear stupidity.


You piratey kids aren’t on any noble march for freedom. You’re just stealing mindless entertainments. No amount of your watching Hollywood’s videos will make the world better — quite the opposite: it’ll just dull your minds further. (195 of 195)

10:57:26[l-250-8]

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: "noting that anything remotely touching Silk Road is somehow tainted and associated with a criminal act"

This guy is engaging in legal commerce, and yet Blue thinks it’s perfectly fine to treat him as if he committed crimes because Blue doesn’t like the type of good he sold or the people near him while he sold them.

This is yet more proof positive that Blue is adamantly opposed to the rule of law, and in favor the rule of his own opinion.

Rekrul says:

There’s no way he’s ever going to get that money back. I’ve read of cases where cash was seized from people and not even a cashed paycheck from a legitimate company in the exact amount of the cash, was enough to “prove” that the money wasn’t gained illegally.

Once law enforcement has your property, they fight tooth and nail to keep it and he will likely spend more trying to get it back than it’s worth.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i’m afraid that is all too true…
i imagine the times you get restitution are 1/10th to 1/100th of the times the piggies/feds/etc simply TAKE YOUR SHIT…

its that RICO crap being used on EVERYONE (except bidnesses doing REAL RICO crap)…

really, just another unconstitutional brick in the wall of fascism being built around us all…

all the oppression is simply to protect their corruption…

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