LawFuel.com – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Brian R. Crowell, the Special-Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and Toni Weirauch, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), today announced the unsealing of a protective order authorizing the seizure of approximately 144,336 Bitcoins found on computer hardware belonging to ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT, a/k/a “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a/k/a “DPR,” a/k/a “Silk Road,” the alleged owner and operator of “Silk Road,” a hidden website designed to enable its users to buy and sell illegal drugs and other unlawful goods and services anonymously and beyond the reach of law enforcement.
Along with a prior seizure of approximately 29,655 Bitcoins, federal law enforcement agents have now seized a total of approximately 173,991 Bitcoins in connection with the Silk Road case, which, at today’s Bitcoin exchange rate, are worth over $33.6 million.
The Bitcoins have been seized in connection with a civil action previously filed in Manhattan federal court on September 30, 2013, seeking the forfeiture of all assets of Silk Road, including its website and all of its Bitcoins because those assets allegedly were used to facilitate money laundering and constitute property involved in money laundering. Also in connection with that civil action, federal law enforcement agents previously seized the Silk Road website itself.
In addition to the civil action, a criminal Complaint against ULBRICHT was filed in Manhattan federal court charging him with one count of narcotics conspiracy, one of count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. ULBRICHT was arrested in San Francisco, California, on October 1, 2013, he was subsequently ordered detained, and he is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court within the next few weeks. ULBRICHT has also been charged in a separate indictment pending in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland.