Second Silk Road Indictment Details Ulbright's Attempt To Have Former Silk Road Employee Killed

from the breaking-bad dept

So a lot of attention has been paid to the criminal complaint filed in NY against Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator and owner of Silk Road. One of the more fascinating parts is the supposed plan to hire a hit man to kill a Silk Road user who was trying to extort Ulbricht, threatening him with revealing a large list of Silk Road users. However, as Ken White pointed out, it seemed slightly odd that the complaint describes a the murder-for-hire, but doesn't charge Ulbricht with that murder-for-hire. Now, Parker Higgins alerts us to the news that there's a separate indictment against Ulbright, filed in Maryland for a different attempted contract killing, and it's pretty crazy too.

As you may recall, in the NY complaint (yes, the NY document that has been revealed is the complaint, while the Maryland one is the indictment -- and the two things are different), when Ulbricht allegedly tried to hire someone to do the contract killing on the guy trying to extort him, he complained that the quoted price ($150k to $300k) was "too high" because he'd done it before for only $80k. You might have assumed he was simply bluffing for the sake of negotiations, but, it sounds like (shockingly), Ulbricht was actually being honest. The Maryland indictment focuses almost exclusively on the attempt to pay $80,000 to have a former employee of Silk Road killed.

You should read the whole thing yourself (embedded below), but an undercover agent had reached out to Ulbright (after a few months of communication) seeking to move a large amount of drugs, and complaining that Silk Road buyers only wanted to buy small amounts. Ulbright helped connect the federal agent to a buyer, with the help of a Silk Road employee. The indictment is a bit confusing, but it appears that that same employee received the drugs (though it's unclear if that employee was also the "vendor" who acted as the buyer). Either way, soon after that, Ulbricht contacted the undercover agent, claiming (1) that the same employee had been arrested and (2) that the employee had stolen a bunch of money. He then asked the undercover agent for help in having the employee "beat up" and "then forced to send the bitcoins he stole back."

The next day, Ulbright upped the ante, asking instead of beating up the guy, to have him killed, saying he was worried that since he was arrested, the employee would provide info to law enforcement. From there, the undercover agent and Ulbright negotiated and settled on a deal and a plan for first torturing the employee to get him to give back the stolen money, and then to kill him. The following reports read like out of a movie script:
On or about January 31, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" communicated with the UC via the Internet, to further discuss the murder of the Employee, and asked about the "status" of the Employee and whether the assassins "can handle it." The UC replied that "they are pros" and that "as soon as 40 lands the guys will go out[.]"

On or about February 4, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" caused approximately $40,000 to be wired from Technocash Limited in Australia to a bank account at Capital One Bank in Washington, D.C., as payment for the murder of the Employee.

On or about February 5, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a communicated with the UC via the Internet, to discuss the murder of the Employee. ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" wrote that he wanted "proof of death," and instructed the UC to "ask for a video, if they can't do that, then pictures" of the Employee's death. ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" also stated that "they should probably just give him the note, let him use his computer to send the coins back, and then kill him[.]" ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR," further explained that "im more concerned about silencing him than getting that money and "considering his arrest, I have to assume he will sing."

On or about February 8, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" communicated with the UC via the Internet, to discuss the murder of the Employee. The UC stated that the assassins were in place, but waiting for the Employee to be alone because the Employee lived with a daughter and wife. The UC further advised that once the Employee was alone, "they will go in and torture him to get your money[.]" and "after that is done, then they get him out of the house and then take he somewhere where they can kill him[.]" ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" replied, "just let me know when it's done. [W]e are still a go."

On or about February 12, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" communicated with the UC via the Internet, to discuss the murder of the Employee. The UC stated that the Employee "is still alive but being tortured" for the stolen money, and that the assassins "are good; they should break him." ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" replied, that "shouldn't be hard[.]"

On or about February 16, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" communicated with the UC Via the Internet, to discuss the murder of the Employee. Via the Internet, the UC transmitted staged photographs of the Employee being tortured to ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR." After seeing the photographs, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" stated that he was "a little disturbed, but I'm ok," and that "I'm new to this kind of thing is all[.]" ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" added that "I don't think I've done the wrong thing[.]" and "I'm sure I will call on you again at some point, though I hope I won't have to[.]"

On or about February 19, 2013, the UC sent an email to ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" stating that "[the Employee] is dead[,] they killed him this weekend[,] don't have details yet, and I'm waiting for a photo[.]"

On or about February 21, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" communicated with the UC via the Internet, to discuss the murder of the Employee. The UC told ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" that the Employee "died of asphyxiation/heart rupture" while being tortured. Via the Internet, the UC transmitted a staged photograph that purported to depict the Employee's dead body. After receiving the photograph, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" stated that "I'm pissed I had to kill him but what's done is done[.]" and that "I just can't believe he was so stupid[,] . . . I just wish more people had some integrity[.]"

On or about February 28, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" communicated with the UC Via the Internet, to discuss the murder of the Employee. The UC told ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" that the Employee's body was completely destroyed to eliminate evidence and asked to make sure the second $40,000 payment for the murder of the Employee was sent.

On or about March 1, 2013, ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a "Dread Pirate Roberts," a/k/a "DPR" caused approximately $40,000 to be wired from Technocash Limited in Australia to a bank account at Capital One Bank in Washington, D.C. as payment for the murder of the Employee.
You have to imagine screenwriters in Hollywood are already busy at work turning this into a movie. That said, if the feds faked that employee's death all the way back in February, and then were able to keep it quiet all this time, it's fairly amazing how long they've been tracking Ulbricht -- and doubly amazing that he didn't leave the country (especially after Homeland Security officials showed up at his apartment in July).

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Re:

    The available information at the time, as well as professional analysis, supported what he said, which was not delivered as a concrete statement of fact. It was couched as a supposition based upon all available information.

    But let us not let facts get in the way of your anti-Techdirt screed.

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