If you know the name Ross Ulbricht, it’s probably for just one thing: He is the man federal authorities have indicted in the U.S. for allegedly operating Silk Road, the anonymous, illegal Bitcoin web site for drug dealers and counterfeit currency traders.
He is also charged with ordering the assassinations of six people he believed had ripped him off as he accumulated a personal fortune of $US20 million in Bitcoin from transaction fees on Silk Road. (None of them were actually killed; the “hits” were set up by undercover agents.)
But Ulbricht’s parents and sister don’t recognise this description of him. They have mounted a campaign to raise money for his legal defence and, they hope, prove his innocence. “Ross is not a criminal mastermind and Ross is not a killer,” they say, on the site they have started to spread the word about his case.
Ulbricht’s mother, Lyn, gave Business Insider these photos of Ulbricht’s life before he was arrested so people can see the another side of the man the FBI claims is the “Dread Pirate Roberts.”
Ross with his sister and mum in San Francisco. Cally has devoted her Twitter account to protesting Ross's innocence.
Ross loved the outdoors, nature and the wilderness. This is him on a camping trip with a friend. We cannot name the other person for legal reasons.
Ross studied at the Nanotech Institute at UT Dallas, where he worked on the Organic Solar Cell project on advances in solar energy. He wrote several scientific publications on the topic. Here is Ross with his grandmother.
He owned Good Wagon Books, a used book business which donated 10% of its gross revenues to Explore Austin, an urban youth mentoring group.
Even his roommates have visited him in jail. He is currently being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
A high school buddy, Thomas Haney, told the New York Times, 'It'd be like they accused my mother of trying to kill someone ... He's one of the most guileless and nonaggressive people I've ever met.'
The Times said that Ulbricht once rushed to help an old homeless woman in a wheelchair. 'We were standing outside a restaurant, and he just handed me the leash to my dogs, ran into the street and said, 'Can I help you?''
He's not interested in casual sex either. In a conversation recorded on StoryCorps, he told a friend about his first love in college. 'We didn't have sex for like three months ... But we'd make out, and really, like, get close but never go there. And when we finally did, it was amazing.'
'He is not motivated by money, and has lived a simple life with modest possessions,' his supporters say.
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