Second Federal Agent Accused In Silk Road Bitcoin Theft To Plead Guilty

Former DEA agent Carl Force has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges, according to court documents filed earlier this week. Force, along with former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, was accused of bitcoin theft while investigating the Silk Road online marketplace. Force was a DEA agent assigned to … Continue reading Second Federal Agent Accused In Silk Road Bitcoin Theft To Plead Guilty

Former Federal Agent Accused Of Silk Road Bitcoin Theft To Plead Guilty

One of the two federal agents who were accused of stealing bitcoin from the Silk Road website while on an assignment to investigate the marketplace has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. On Wednesday, Bridges agreed to plead guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice. Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent, had been assigned to a … Continue reading Former Federal Agent Accused Of Silk Road Bitcoin Theft To Plead Guilty

Ross Ulbricht Set to Appeal Life Sentence in Silk Road Conviction

NEW YORK CITY – Ross Ulbricht, the convicted founder of the Silk Road online marketplace, will appeal his two life sentences, according to court documents filed on Thursday. Ulbricht was sentenced on five different counts in late May – one for 20 years, one for five years, one for 15 years and two for life, … Continue reading Ross Ulbricht Set to Appeal Life Sentence in Silk Road Conviction

Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prison

On Friday, Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road online marketplace, was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement with the online “drug bazaar.” In February, Ulbricht, 31, was found guilty on all seven charges stemming from his involvement with the Silk Road marketplace, related to distributing narcotics, fraudulent documents, money laundering, and continuing a … Continue reading Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prison

Silk Road ‘Mastermind’ Ross Ulbricht to be Sentenced Friday Afternoon

NEW YORK CITY – On Friday afternoon, convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht will find out how many years he will spend in prison for his role in the Silk Road online marketplace. With federal mandatory minimum sentences, Ulbricht is facing at least 20 years in prison. In February, the Silk Road trial concluded as the jury reached … Continue reading Silk Road ‘Mastermind’ Ross Ulbricht to be Sentenced Friday Afternoon

Two Silk Road Investigators Face Massive Fraud Charges

Prosecutors announced on Monday that two former federal agents have been arrested on charges of wire fraud and money laundering stemming from their investigation of the Silk Road online marketplace.

Two former federal agents have been accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars during their investigation of Silk Road, an online marketplace that authorities called “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet.” The two defendants are Carl Force, a former special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service special agent.

Force and Bridges were assigned to a task force based in Baltimore investigating Silk Road. Force was the lead investigator working undercover, and Bridges was a computer forensics expert working on the case.

According to a press release from the Justice Department, Force “served as an undercover agent and was tasked with establishing communications with a target of the investigation, Ross Ulbricht, aka ‘Dread Pirate Roberts.'” Force was authorized to communicate with Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) online to gather information, but he allegedly went on to create several unauthorized, fictitious online identities.

Force allegedly “used fake online personas, and engaged in complex Bitcoin transactions to steal from the government and the targets of the investigation. Specifically, Force allegedly solicited and received digital currency as part of the investigation, but failed to report his receipt of the funds, and instead transferred the currency to his personal account. In one such transaction, Force allegedly sold information about the government’s investigation to the target of the investigation,” stated the press release. According to Forbes, Force deposited money amounting to three times his government salary into his bank account between 2012 and 2013. The Baltimore Sun reports that it was found by IRS investigators that Force made about $775,000 in that 2-year period, and used the money to pay off a loan and his mortgage, and to make various investments.

Bridges allegedly stole more than $800,000 in digital currency from the Silk Road that fell under under his control during the Baltimore Silk Road investigation. “The complaint alleges that Bridges placed the assets into an account at Mt. Gox, the now-defunct digital currency exchange in Japan. He then allegedly wired funds into one of his personal investment accounts in the United States mere days before he sought a $2.1 million seizure warrant for Mt. Gox’s accounts,” stated the press release.

Force faces charges of wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest. Bridges faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

Force and Bridges were investigated about nine months before the trial for Ross Ulbricht began. Force reportedly became aware of the investigation in May 2014 and resigned.

Ulbricht’s defense team did not know of the investigation into the two former agents until five weeks before Ulbricht’s trial, and the information regarding the alleged actions of Force and Bridges was sealed by prosecutors. “The Government’s efforts to keep the Carl Force scandal out of the public eye at trial is in itself scandalous,” said Joshua Horowitz,a defense attorney for Ulbricht. “The recently filed Complaint which names Carl Force as a defendant demonstrates that the Government’s investigation of Mr. Ulbricht lacked integrity, and was wholly and fatally compromised from the inside.”

Ulbricht was found guilty in February of all charges relating to the operation of Silk Road. While he faces sentencing on May 15th, he filed a motion for a new trial on March 8th, and his lawyer reportedly believes the scandal surrounding Force and Bridges could help in his motion.

“There was considerable litigation, including a portion of our post-trial motions, that was related to this but has remained sealed,” Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht’s attorney, told Motherboard. “This is an important component of our motion, and will be amplified in our reply now that the charges have been instituted formally.”

The criminal complaint filed against Force and Bridges can be read here.

Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Found Guilty on All Charges, Faces Life in Prison

“The US government, my biggest enemy, was aware of me and calling for my destruction. This is the biggest force wielding organization on the planet.” – Ross Ulbricht’s journal Wednesday evening the saga of Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road trial reached another milestone as the jury reached a verdict of guilty on seven charges … Continue reading Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Found Guilty on All Charges, Faces Life in Prison

The Silk Road Trial Continues After Dramatic Revelations

“Silk Road was founded on libertarian principles and continues to be operated on them. It is a great idea and a great practical system…It is not a utopia. It is regulated by market forces, not a central power (even I am subject to market forces by my competition. No one is forced to be here). … Continue reading The Silk Road Trial Continues After Dramatic Revelations

Trial Begins for Alleged Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht

New York City – On Tuesday morning jury selection will begin in the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the Silk Road online market place where goods and services could be sold and paid for anonymously using Bitcoin. Specifically, Ulbricht has plead not guilty to trafficking drugs on the Internet, narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, computer-hacking … Continue reading Trial Begins for Alleged Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht

Libertarian Internet Guru Arrested, “Silk Road” Online Black Marketplace Shut Down By FBI

If you are a libertarian, or a drug dealer, chances are you’ve heard of Silk Road. Silk Road was an elusive website that allowed people to sell… well, anything. The online black marketplace allowed users to browse anonymously and securely without risking the attention of government investigators. Critics called the site the “ of illegal … Continue reading Libertarian Internet Guru Arrested, “Silk Road” Online Black Marketplace Shut Down By FBI

Tim Draper Predicts Upward Trend for Cryptocurrency

(Dash Force News) Tim Draper, the famed investor who once said “the world needs this new kind of currency”, now predicts Bitcoin will reach $250,000 USD by 2022. Draper unveiled his prediction at his blockchain party and via tweet, even though he mistakenly proclaimed $25K in his first tweet, which was later clarified to be $250K. He even emboldened his … Continue reading Tim Draper Predicts Upward Trend for Cryptocurrency

Snowden Documents: NSA Worked to Track Bitcoin Users

A new report from The Intercept reveals that the National Security Agency has been able to track users of the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin since at least 2013. The revelation is detailed in newly released classified documented obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden and provided to the The Intercept. The documents show the agency accessing the fiber-optic … Continue reading Snowden Documents: NSA Worked to Track Bitcoin Users

Former Federal Judge, Drug Reform Groups Urging Reduced Sentence for Ross Ulbricht

Two drug-reform organizations, a criminal justice reform organization and a former federal judge filed an amicus brief on March 16 which laid out arguments rebuking Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s sentence of life in prison without parole. Ulbricht was convicted in May 2015 on charges that included money laundering, narcotics distribution, and fraud in connection to the Silk Road online … Continue reading Former Federal Judge, Drug Reform Groups Urging Reduced Sentence for Ross Ulbricht

New ZCash Cryptocurrency Promises Completely Anonymous Transactions

On January 20, developer Zooko Wilcox released an early edition of ZCash, an anonymous alternative cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin. Wilcox and his team have only released the alpha version of the currency so far, but are promising that transactions will be completely anonymous. Bitcoin was originally conceived as a semi-anonymous currency, but the level of anonymity ultimately … Continue reading New ZCash Cryptocurrency Promises Completely Anonymous Transactions

Presidential Candidate John McAfee on the Drug War, Immigration, ISIS, Bernie Sanders and More

On September 8th, John McAfee announced the creation of a new political party and the beginning of his presidential candidacy. “The Cyber Party” promises to bring “Privacy, Freedom and Prosperity” to America.

McAfee, perhaps best known as an antivirus software pioneer, is no stranger to controversy. He was once connected to a murder in Belize which led him to flee into the jungles of Central America, though he no longer stands accused of anything and addresses the incident in the interview below. He is also known for creating apps and promoting the benefits of yoga.

McAfee’s 2016 campaign site makes it clear that McAfee is not interested in campaigning in the traditional sense. He is planning on releasing new apps which he says will change the way the public can communicate with candidates.

Regarding his potential participation in the presidential debates, McAfee writes, “As someone who has seen much of the world in my 70 years, I can strongly recommend that those of you who find value or entertainment through watching political opponents spar, that an equal amount of time watching the History channel or Professional Wrestling will bring greater value and greater entertainment.”

Truth In Media’s Derrick Broze recently spoke with John McAfee to get his views on a number of important topics. The full video interview is below.

Derrick Broze: What are your thoughts on the Federal Reserve?

John McAffee: The Federal Reserve serves no useful purpose. I think the Federal Reserve has outlived its purpose. I have too many priorities first. My first priority is to pardon everyone in prison for a Marijuana offense. If it’s simple use or sale, non-violent, then I am pardoning people.

DB: What about all drug users who are committing non-violent, victimless crimes?

JM: With the rest it’s a little bit trickier. I would lobby for laws that would make the ingestion of any chemicals no more than a misdemeanor. A heroin addict is carrying a huge punishment already, what good would judicial punishment do?

DB: What are your thoughts on the growth of the Islamic State?

JM: I believe that terrorism itself is a direct result of American interference in foreign states. If we had not interfered in every single Muslim nation, in one form or another, do you think there would be terrorists worried about America? Terrorism is a direct result of foreign interference in foreign states.

DB: What are your thoughts on the European refugee crisis and the idea of borders?

JM: I grew up listening to John Lennon’s “Imagine”. I think America was founded on open borders, bring us your cold, your hungry, your workers. The problem we have is that our neighbors speak different languages and have radically different cultures. What I would like to see is us take all the money we spend on walls and patrolling the borders, and create schools which teach people English, give them skills and trades, and document them. Require that they be real citizens.

I have a plan to stimulate business through government help, without costing anything. After a couple years if these entrepreneurial  businesses are succeeding we will take two of these immigrants and the businesses have to hire them. As long as they are competent they have to pay them. We have to do something, we cannot close our borders. Without open immigration I wouldn’t be in this country.

John McAffee discussed the international drug trade and policing the world.

“If drugs are manufactured overseas that is the problem of the country where they are manufactured and we are not to interfere. We are not the policemen of the world anymore. We do not have the resources to continue to play it.

People talk about loaning money to Israel and paying off Iran, we can’t do these things because we are broke. This is a fact. In the real world, which is where I live and you live, if your bank is busted and your friend needs to borrow $20 you say you can’t. When that happens with the government they print more. In that act of printing what happens? All the dollars that you have worked for have been devalued and no longer buy the same amount.

So we cannot spend money we do not have. We have real problems in the U.S., human trafficking, rape, murder, violence. Don’t we need space in jails for those people?”

Derrick asked McAfee what his presidency would to about the growing concern around Student Loan debt.

“I had a student loan and for me it was one of the best things. To have a loan that I didn’t have to pay off till I got out of school, at a very low interest rate, is an incentive for education. What we have to have are rational principal and interest. What can a kid afford? We have to have flexibility.”

McAffee told Derrick thoughts on the Silk Road trial and Ross Ulbricht.

“That was a tragedy and he will also be pardoned. The law was massively misapplied. (According to the case) everybody who runs Smith & Wesson and Colt and all the other gun manufacturers should be arrested for what people do with them.”

McAfee shared his views on the United States government sending monetary aid to foreign nations such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of who are accused of human rights violations.

“Number one, America must back off from being the policemen of the world. We are in debt and have to struggle with our own economy. If we have no money, whether its right or wrong, we cannot intervene. We have to accept that we are $18 trillion in debt. We need to make ourselves solvent.”

McAfee discussed Donald Trump.

“Donald has made thousands of jobs for America, I think he ought to go back and do that. Donald has never written an email, and he is stepping into an office where his competitors and antagonists around the world, like the vice premier of China, is a computer programmer and knows as much about cyber-security as any technologist in the country. The same thing with Russia, they would not hire someone who is not cyber aware. The Chinese would consider that illiterate, like hiring someone who cannot read. Both of them are illiterate at the science that holds this country together and that is cyber science.”

McAfee offered his views on Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and his plans to raise the minimum wage, give free college tuition, and free healthcare.

“Keep in mind, you have to accept, we are in debt. We cannot afford to spend more money. We don’t have enough money to spend for those programs. We have got to cut the government drastically. The TSA has to go. I intend to continue pay the peoples salaries cause that’s only $2 billion a year, but the total budget is $8 billion a year. So by shutting it down and then paying their salaries we save $6 billion a year.”

McAfee discussed the United States’ relationship with China.

“We are at war with China. Believe it or not, they have attacked Homeland Security, the Office of Program Management, the FBI, and the Army. They stole 15 million records of U.S. government employees for the past 35 years from the Office of Program Management. Everyone who had a top secret security clearance, many of these are undercover agents. The government has not told us what happened with those agents. Have they been killed? Are they being tortured? This is the biggest coup of warfare ever in the history of warfare. Carried out by China against the U.S. The first order of business is to get us a defense system or we will be destroyed by these bigger agents. I have a plan for bringing us into the cyber world.”

McAfee also discusses the welfare system, the morality of voting and government itself.

Ross Ulbricht Expresses Optimism And Seeks Help In First Published Letter From Prison

Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht’s first published letter from prison addressed supporters and attendees of this year’s liberty-focused New Hampshire event known as PorcFest. In the letter, Ulbricht expressed disappointment about not being able to attend the event, and he wrote about the upcoming struggles that will ensue in appealing his life sentence. He concluded the letter seeking … Continue reading Ross Ulbricht Expresses Optimism And Seeks Help In First Published Letter From Prison

1,500 Liberty Lovers Gather At 12th Annual PorcFest

The Free State Project’s 12th annual week-long Porcupine Freedom Festival, also known as PorcFest, concluded last Sunday. Truth In Media’s Annabelle Bamforth visited PorcFest to catch a glimpse of some of the activities at the festival, which takes place at Roger’s Campground in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

PorcFest is the Free State Project’s premier summer event that showcases the movement’s purpose, which is to inspire 20,000 individuals to move to New Hampshire in pursuit of personal liberty. A large number of attendees bring their camping gear to spend the week enjoying the festivities and ample space offered at Roger’s Campground, surrounded by one of the state’s most scenic mountain regions.

Personal freedom encompasses the atmosphere of the FSP and PorcFest, and attendees had plenty of avenues to explore. The following is a mere sampling of events that PorcFest had to offer:

  • Tours of New Hampshire’s scenic North Country
  • Appearances by Lenore Skenazy discussing the “free-range kids” movement
  • A kombucha-brewing tutorial
  • Discussion from residents in different regions of NH offering their perspective on ideal locations in which to settle
  • A Q&A session with Ross Ulbricht’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht, following the screening of the Silk Road documentary Deep Web
  • A “Jury Rights Jeopardy” game testing its attendees about juror’s rights
  • Daily activities for families and children
  • A lecture from Muslims 4 Liberty about spreading the voluntaryist message globally
  • Yoga and various dance classes
  • Screening of 101 Reasons: Liberty Lives In New Hampshire
  • Annual cook-off hosted by The Liberty Ladies of NH
  • A panel examining different forms of activism
  • A Crony Awards ceremony to award various crony capitalist “winners”
  • A speech from Julie Borowski about spreading the liberty message to a broader audience
  • Discussion from recent FSP “new movers” sharing their moving stories
  • Multiple discussions to assist people interested in running for elected positions locally and statewide

Many of the discussions and events illustrated New Hampshire as a state boasting a low tax burden, a diverse and thriving economy, a high quality of life, and a state legislature striving to limit government authority.

Beyond PorcFest’s pavilion area stood Agora Valley, the vendors’ section of Porcfest. Attendees visiting Agora Valley had access to over 60 vendors near the campsites offering freshly prepared meals, handmade products, Bulletproof coffee, endless varieties of homemade canned goods, locally caught trout, a vending machine refurbished to accept bitcoin, a great deal of pro-liberty literature, and plenty in between. Amanda Bouldin, whose homemade ice cream stand is a PorcFest favorite, enjoyed her sixth year at the event serving up flavors like Surveillance State Strawberry, WaterMolon Labe, Orwellian Oreo, and Constitutional Carry Chocolate Cherry.

Two agents from New Hampshire’s Department of Revenue made an appearance at this year’s PorcFest in an attempt to ensure that the food vendors at Agora Valley had “proper licensing” and were collecting the state’s meal tax at the festival. The agents warned that some vendors could be considered non-compliant. The incident, caught on video, showed a confrontation between the agents and Free Keene’s Ian Freeman. The agents were quickly notified that they were on private property and were asked to leave. After speaking with the campground’s owner, the agents exited without gaining access to any vendor paperwork.

Matt Philips, a FSP participant, spoke with Bamforth about his experience organizing this year’s PorcFest with his girlfriend, Kristin Weitzel. Philips estimated that at least 1,500 attendees were to be expected over the week and said that as the FSP grows, PorcFest grows steadily as well.

“We’re longtime Burning Man people,” said Philips of himself and Weitzel, “so we bring a little bit of that perspective.” He said that his time volunteering as a Black Rock Ranger at Burning Man inspired him to organize a new set of volunteers, called Porc Rangers, to assist at PorcFest. “They can summon medical, they can summon community support, they can help people help themselves,” said Philips.

Philips also spoke of the “principles of Porcfest,” something that he and others have been working on to “identify the parts of the culture that we really want to emphasize, get more of.”

“We’re trying to get people who think they might be interested to come, meet everyone, see what it’s about,” said Philips. “To see the experimentation that’s going on here with the vendors and the people here around each other. The little microcosm of the free society that we could have if we all came to this one place and magnified, amplified, each other’s efforts.”

There are innumerable tenets that draw such a large crowd to PorcFest. Some attendees had specific advice to share or to seek. Some attended to hear speeches relevant to their principles. Some attendees have described the event as a week-long experimentation showing what a truly free society could look like. Some simply wanted to go camping with like-minded friends. No matter what brings them to Lancaster year after year, PorcFest is an ideal setting for liberty-loving guests to unite in celebration of the Free State Project’s motto: “Liberty In Our Lifetime.”


2015 New Hampshire Liberty Forum Draws Over 500 Attendees

Manchester, NH- The 8th annual Liberty Forum, hosted by the Free State Project from March 5th through March 8th, welcomed over 500 enthusiastic visitors. The event, which has been primarily held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, was moved to the larger Radisson Hotel in Manchester this year to accommodate the growing number of … Continue reading 2015 New Hampshire Liberty Forum Draws Over 500 Attendees

$27 Worth Of Bitcoins In 2009 Cashed In For $886K

Ben Swann recently published a report of how bitcoin is a new frontier of capitalism. You can watch that report in the video below. Those who were wise enough, or perhaps just lucky enough, to have invested in the concept early on are seeing massive payouts. Bitcoin recently tanked after a major trading market called … Continue reading $27 Worth Of Bitcoins In 2009 Cashed In For $886K

Did Ron Paul’s Campaign Violate Federal Election Laws? If So, Are Libertarians Prepared to Deal With It?

It has been a tough week for libertarians. The beloved internet marketplace of freedom, Silk Road, became mired in a scandal when its leader betrayed the hopes of supporters by allegedly hiring hit men to kill two people. Now, the grandfather of libertarian politics, Ron Paul, has become mired in an alleged scandal of his … Continue reading Did Ron Paul’s Campaign Violate Federal Election Laws? If So, Are Libertarians Prepared to Deal With It?