The Bitcoin Saga


#781

That’s pretty much how law enforcement rolls these days unfortunately. Actually prosecuting people cleanly for the crimes they committed is tricky and time consuming and might not produce a good outcome. So instead they prefer to set suspects up to confess or commit additional crimes that they can easily and simply prosecute. That’s why Hastert is being prosecuted for lying to investigators. They set him up to lie in a situation where they already knew the truth. The only point of the interrogation was to give him an opportunity to lie to investigators on record. Once they had that, it’s a much easier court case than prosecuting whatever else he may have done.


#782

The undercover cop arranged for him to buy it. Definitely didn’t just send it to him out of the blue. At least that’s how I read it.


#783

Yeah, although I wouldn’t have necessarily put that type of entrapment past the DEA, it seems unlikely that they would risk the bust with something so easily proven to be entrapment. Although ChronicPain was a lower-level guy he certainly could have afforded to hire a good legal team, and it probably would not have been tough to convince a jury that the cops had set him up if they actually HAD.

Much more likely that they knew that the package was coming to him already and arranged to be there when he was going to open it.


#784

I didn’t see any reference to Green buying the package, though that is a very likely conclusion to draw. I suppose we’re expected to infer that from the piece, but it seemed to describe the package by size and weight as if Green was not familiar with it.


#785

Amazing that people see this guy as a hero because he used the internet. Stick him in an expensive suit in the back of some Italian restaurant and he’d be just another mob boss getting what he deserves.


#786

The logic I’ve seen them try to use is to argue that he didn’t run an illegal enterprise, just a website that facilitated private and anonymous transactions. Basically, eBay or Craigslist, and therefore has no liability for what was sold and its legality. They handwave away the murder-for-hire stuff because the murders never took place.

Of course the whole “he takes a cut of every sale” and “makes no effort to remove illegal items” and “created the site to sell drugs” makes it slightly different from eBay.


#787

Sideshow Bob: “Attempted murder!” Now honestly. Did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for “attempted chemistry?”


#788

Attempted medicine in 1926

from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2012/10/who_is_the_least_deserving_winner_of_a_nobel_prize_.html


#789

I think that what ultimately screwed him was that they had his laptop with chat logs demonstrating clearly that he not only knew illegal activity was taking place on his site, but that he totally embraced it.

It basically destroyed any plausible deniability of what was happening.


#790

For all those saying a life sentence was justified because of the attempted murders, isn’t the attempted murders being considered in another case and he was only being sentenced for the silk road website? Correct me if i’m wrong, but I thought I read that in several news articles.


#791

Nope, that is true. I believe the Government is truly throwing the book at him to make an example. Also, because outside of the attempted murder charges, their were several people who had died as a direct cause of the services he provided.


#792

Great Wired article! Thanks for the links.

At the point in the story when the feds shut down Silk Road, I jumped over to Reddit to look for that discussion. Immediately, the topic turned to Silk Road 2.0, 3.0 etc and how the next admin can learn from Ross’s mistakes and avoid capture. It reminded me of when Oink.cd was shut down and how it took approximately no time for everyone to flock to the myriad different torrent communities that sprung up in its wake. I assume the same thing happened after Silk Road was stopped.

Amazing how fast technology changes while human nature doesn’t.


#793

That’s why Hastert is being prosecuted for lying to investigators. They set him up to lie in a situation where they already knew the truth. The only point of the interrogation was to give him an opportunity to lie to investigators on record. Once they had that, it’s a much easier court case than prosecuting whatever else he may have done.

With Hastert, at least, there were crimes (not counting whatever was being hushed up) before the investigation, namely structuring withdrawals with the intent to avoid reporting obligations.

The logic I’ve seen them try to use is to argue that he didn’t run an illegal enterprise, just a website that facilitated private and anonymous transactions. Basically, eBay or Craigslist, and therefore has no liability for what was sold and its legality. They handwave away the murder-for-hire stuff because the murders never took place.

Except eBay and Craigslist do have liability for the legality of what is sold. If you run a criminal marketplace, you’re going to get prosecuted. If you run an enormous one, and try to do gangster like things to keep control of it, you’re going to get banged up for a long time, regardless of who dies.


#794

No so sure keeping torrent sites up is similar to this, in terms of law enforcement involvement. From wikipedia:

On 20 December 2013, it was announced that three alleged Silk Road 2.0 administrators had been arrested;[77] two of these suspects, Andrew Michael Jones and Gary Davis, were named as the administrators “Inigo” and “Libertas” who had continued their work on Silk Road 2.0.[78] Around this time, the new Dread Pirate Roberts abruptly surrendered control of the site and froze its activity, including its escrow system. A new temporary administrator under the screenname “Defcon” took over and promised to bring the site back to working order.[79]

On 6 November 2014, authorities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Europol, and Eurojust announced the arrest of Blake Benthall, allegedly the owner and operator of Silk Road 2.0 under the pseudonym “Defcon”, the previous day in San Francisco as part of Operation Onymous.


#795

Done by Bill of Wyld Stallyns (que guitar)


#796

Hadn’t realized that. So what exactly did they sentence him for?


#797
  1. Narcotics trafficking — max: life in prison; min: 10 years

  2. Distribution of narcotics by means of the internet — max: life in prison; min 10 years

  3. Narcotics trafficking conspiracy — max: life in prison; min 10 years

  4. Continuing criminal enterprise — max: life in prison; min 20 years

  5. Conspiracy to commit and aid and abet computer hacking — max 5 years

  6. Conspiracy to traffick in fraudulent identification documents — max 15 years

  7. Money laundering conspiracy — max 20 years


#798

The WIRED article says at the end that his putting out a “hit” on ChronicPain was going to be tried separately. But given that the FBI guys who set all that up are themselves accused of stealing the money… well, any decent lawyer should be able to shoot that case too full of holes to hold any water.


#799

Is this true? You buy something from an ad on CL and it’s defective, and CL is liable for that? Does that hold true for classified ads in newspapers too? I’ve never heard of this before.


#800

Legality is entirely different than functionality. I don’t think CL would have any liability if someone sells a broken stereo online.