Ask any Florida mother what she would say if her child were sentenced to serve a lifetime in federal prison and you will get a similar response: devastation. This is precisely how Ross Ulbricht's mother feels right now following her son's sentencing hearing on Friday. The creator of the Silk Road website was convicted of computer hacking, money laundering and conspiracy to engage in drug trafficking, among other crimes. According to Ulbricht's mother, her son has been made into a political prisoner.
Ross Ulbricht and his attorney plan to appeal the sentencing. If they are successful, he may be able to sidestep the lifetime sentence. According to his mother, she had hoped her son would be issued a 20-year sentence, and he would be released when he was 50.
Ulbricht's creation, Silk Road, is famous for being a part of the Dark Web, a portion of the Internet users access with Tor software to conceal their identities. All transactions on Silk Road are carried out with the electronic currency Bitcoin, which allows for anonymous purchases and sales. Even though Ross Ulbricht was arrested, tried and convicted, the Silk Road still thrives as an underground online marketplace.
During the interview, Lyn Ulbricht indicated that she is accepting contributions of Bitcoin to finance her son's appeal of the sentencing. Just like in New York, where this federal case was tried, individuals convicted of drug trafficking in Florida can appeal a judge's decision in a higher court -- especially if there is a clear question as to the harshness of the punishment. While it remains to be seen what will happen in Ulbricht's case, it appears that he may have a sound basis for appeal.
Source: Huffington Post, "Silk Road Founder Is A 'Political Prisoner,' Mother Lyn Ulbricht Says", Damon Beres, June 2, 2015