Can Bitcoin be used for money laundering if it isn't money?

Ross Ulbricht, who stands accused of running the Silk Road black market under the name “Dread Pirate Roberts,” says that new federal bitcoin laws make the charges against him invalid. In a filing over the weekend, Ulbricht’s lawyers defended him against charges of hacking, narcotics trafficking, operating a criminal conspiracy, and money laundering. The first three charges, his lawyers argue, are “unconstitutionally broad” and can’t be applied to the normal operation of a website, even one whose business is illegal goods. 

The trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of the Silk Road Bitcoin-based black market for drugs, hasn’t yet begun, but it’s already raising hairy legal questions. First on the docket: Is Bitcoin even money? In a motion filed over the past weekend, Ulbricht’s lawyer Joshua Dratel argued that all charges against his client should be dropped, including accusations of conspiracy to traffic in narcotics, launder money, hack computers, and run a “continuing criminal enterprise,” a charge often called the “kingpin” statute and used to prosecute mafia and cartel leaders. After being arrested in San Francisco last October, Ulbricht pleaded not guilty to all those charges in February.

Read full article

Comments