Things are really starting to heat up regarding the Silk Road marketplace (as if things already weren’t hot enough).
Following the start of Ross Ulbricht’s trial last week, a bitcoin trader has been sentenced to four years in prison due to his unveiled connections to the underground illegal market.
Robert M. Faiella (who often operated under the code name “BTCKing”) has recently pled guilty to operating an illegal money transmission business. Often times, the business saw to the exchange of fiat currency for bitcoins, which would then be used to purchase drugs and other items from Silk Road.
Faiella, a 55 year old Florida native is a former plumber, who explained that he turned to bitcoin to support his family following repeated back problems. The convicted man commented:
“At the time of the event, I saw no other way… It still doesn’t mitigate that I broke the law.”
Faiella was facing a five year maximum prison term, and was sentenced by Judge Jed Rakoff, the same man to sentence former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem in December for his role in Silk Road’s operations. According to the esteemed judge, Faiella must also forfeit almost $1,000,000 in penalty fees, and due to his prior criminal history (Faiella was previously found guilty of a tax offense), Rakoff felt that the former plumber was in need of a harsher sentence, thus granting him four years over the two years faced by Shrem.
Rakoff later commented on the sentence, explaining:
“He knew from his own criminal history the nature of the risk he was taking, and he knowingly assumed that risk.”