Silk Road mastermind appeals his case

Ross Ulbricht faces life in prison for operating the SIlk Road marketplace

Silk Road defendant's attorney

Joshua Dratel, the attorney representing convicted Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht, speaks outside a federal courthouse in Manhattan following sentencing on May 29.

Credit: Joab Jackson/IDG News Service

Facing life in prison, Ross Ulbricht is appealing his seven convictions for operating Silk Road, the illegal drugs online marketplace.

Ulbricht's lawyer, Joshua Dratel, has not decided on what issues he will base the appeal, according to Dratel's office.

Last week, Judge Katherine Forrest, who oversaw the jury case at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, gave Ulbricht two concurrent life sentences for aiding and abetting drug distribution, and for running a criminal enterprise. He also got additional prison time for computer hacking (five years), identification forgery (15 years) and money laundering (20 years), all to run concurrently.

Dratel is appealing both the conviction, as well as a forfeiture ruling that states Ulbricht owes the government more than $183 million, based on Silk Road profits.

Federal prosecutors estimated that between 2011 and 2013, Silk Road facilitated more than $1 billion in drug sales worldwide, along with other unlawful activities such as money laundering and the sales of computer hacking tools and fake identification forms.

The case will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and its ruling, except under special circumstance, will be final.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

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