We all have secrets. We’ve all passed notes in class or been caught gossiping about private topics, and sometimes, when we’ve done something “naughty” our need to talk can be even worse.
Apparently, this holds true for Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind behind underground illegal marketplace Silk Road. According to former college friend Richard Bates, now a 31-year-old software engineer for eBay, Ulbricht told him that he was the creator and runner of the Silk Road website.
Bates is apparently cooperating with authorities to avoid prison time for personal purchases he made through Silk Road; purchases that included marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and Vicodin which he paid for by bitcoin. Bates mentioned that while he was shocked at the information Ulbricht revealed to him, he was also “very intrigued” by the technology of the site, and considering his purchase history, it’s probably safe to say he wanted a little piece of the action.
But that’s all changed, now. Bates turned on Ulbricht during the alleged kingpin’s trial on Thursday, testifying against him in hopes of securing his own protection and future in a world that doesn’t consist of an eight by nine cell.
Bates is claiming to have been involved in the actual construction of the Silk Road website, and his testimony contradicts the opening arguments of Ulbricht’s attorney Joshua Dratel, who said that Ulbricht supposedly gave control of the site to someone else early in the game, and had no involvement with Silk Road and its bitcoin addresses once the crime spree began.
Bates’ testimony comes only one day after a private e-journal, written and kept by Ulbricht himself since 2010 detailing the various stages of his plans to build Silk Road, was produced by Assistant US Attorney Timothy Howard.
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