of course this guy is garbage

Posted on by mcooper

On Thursday, a judge denied Ross Ulbricht bail after a prosecutor for the U.S. attorney’s office accused the alleged Silk Road mastermind with attempting to hire hitmen to kill six people. One of those targets led the biggest scam in the anonymous online drug market’s two-and-a-half year long history, conning users out of thousands of dollars on a day informally celebrated as a marijuana holiday.

While Ulbricht had already been accused of two for-hire kills, the four additional incidents presented in a New York district court by prosecutor Serrin Turner includes one hit commissioned against a former site vendor named “tony76.” Though his real identity remains unknown, tony76 is believed to have schemed users of up to a quarter million dollars last year in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, according to claims by at least one Silk Road forum moderator.

In explaining the murder-for-hire against tony76, Turner portrayed Ulbricht as vengeful, hoping to reacquire the money that was supposedly stolen from Silk Road users. He is a “danger to the community,” wrote the prosecutor in a letter to the court opposing Ulbricht’s bail. “There is no reason to believe that he would not again resort to violence to protect himself.”

The details around tony76 remain murky, but Ulbricht’s alleged attempts to find and take out the vendor and his associates are not, according to the prosecution. Using previously unreleased evidence including online chat records, Bitcoin transaction logs and Ulbricht’s computer journal entries, Turner paints the 29-year-old former physics student as a man whose propensity for violence knew no bounds as he protected his illegal narcotics site and reputation.

Ulbricht is alleged to have been willing to pay approximately $730,000 to kill six people in less than six months. The supposed first hit was commissioned against former Silk Road employee Curtis Clark Green, who was later revealed to have faked his own murder by cooperating with federal agents. The second hit came against a presumed blackmailer, only known by the online name “FriendlyChemist,” who threatened to leak the real identities of Silk Road customers. No evidence was ever found supporting that murder-for-hire.

The case surrounding tony76 is perhaps more intriguing given Ulbricht’s alleged willingness to kill not only the vendor, but also his three associates, for misleading customers and taking money without ever delivering products. According to information logged from Silk Road’s forums, tony76 joined Silk Road in Jan. 2012 as user No. 133,324. At first advertising MDMA, ecstasy’s active ingredient, and heroin, he quickly developed a rapport among users as one of the site’s most trusted vendors.

“I have been in the game for over 20 years, so i [sic] can pretty much get my hands on anything so long as there is money to be made and a good solid demand for it,” tony76 wrote in his first forum post on Jan. 10, 2012. He also included his public GPG key, allowing anyone to send him encrypted messages, pointing to the email address tony76@tormail.net.

Known for giving away free samples early in his online vending career to up his reputation, tony76 said he only shipped to the U.S. and Canada. By mid-April 2012, less than four months after he first joined, tony76 had completed more than 500 orders, with 1,000 forum posts vouching for his services from various users.

“Tony76 has the best MDMA on SR hands down,” wrote a Silk Road user and vendor by the name “foxymeow”. Another user, “dotNorma,” wrote that the “packaging was awesome, very inconspicuous, blends in perfectly with normal mail”. User “undeniableDillema” said tony76 was very professional and that he could “look forward to many future orders.”

Tony76’s scam came on the day of Silk Road’s largest ever sale. On Apr. 9, 2012, Dread Pirate Roberts announced site-wide product discounts and prize giveaways on the 20th, more commonly known as cannabis holiday “4/20.”

“This 4/20, every 420 seconds, some lucky buyer will win one of our 420 great prizes! From $50 gift certificates to a brand new iPhone 4s, some lucky person will be chosen every 420 seconds to win a prize,” the Silk Road leader posted on the forum. He also wrote that one lucky customer would win a “trip for two with all the trimmings to paradise, all expenses included”.

In a post on the Silk Road message boards, tony76 announced on Apr. 17, 2012 that he would be offering 22 items during the 4/20 sale, ranging from cocaine to ketamine. He also revealed that it would be the first time he would be shipping to international buyers.

As the date of the big sale approached, tony76 began requiring that his customers “finalize early” in good faith, approving the deals before receiving their packages. That action allowed the money to be transferred out of Silk Road escrow and directly to the vendor. Tony76 justified his actions, claiming that scammers had reported missing packages in prior sales, resulting in bad reviews.

While plenty of sellers had great success on the 4/20 sale, negative reviews of tony76’s shipments began to flow in around items sold on that date. Customers complained that packages had not yet arrived and noted that tony76 was unresponsive.

Within a week, users accused tony76 of being a scam artist who never intended to ship any products following the sale. Some users assumed he had been arrested, while others claimed he had been planning it all along. Estimates of the Bitcoins stolen range in value from $50,000 to $250,000.

“If he ran into trouble and needed to bail, I hope it works out for him,” wrote user “Savannah” in the Silk Road forum’s “Tony76 Official thread.” “If he just decided to F everyone…. well, karma is a bitch.”

Tony76 last posted on the forum on Apr. 24, 2012, but according to Turner’s bail opposition letter, surfaced as a person-of-interest for Ulbricht almost a year after the 4/20 sale. In the court document, the prosecutor outlined a series of events, which supposedly tied tony76 to previous Ulbricht blackmailer, and murder target, FriendlyChemist. In speaking online with another user named “redandwhite,” Ulbricht was allegedly led to believe that tony76 and FriendlyChemist had been working together to scam Silk Road.

After performing “recon,” redandwhite–previously hired to kill FriendlyChemist–traced tony76 to a real name and address in Surrey, Canada where he lived with three others. After some back and forth, Ulbricht was supposedly convinced to kill all four individuals, sending 3,000 Bitcoins to redandwhite. At a then-price of $166 per Bitcoin, the total amounted to just under $500,000.

According to court documents, Ulbricht wrote in his personal computer journal on Apr. 8, 2013, “Sent payment to angels for hit on tony76 and his 3 associates.”

“That problem was dealt with,” redandwhite wrote to Ulbricht on Apr. 15, 2013.

Canadian authorities reported no homicides of any individual with tony76’s supposed real name around the Apr. 2013 time period. Nonetheless, authorities have used Ulbricht’s alleged inclination for murder against him. Denied bail, Ulbricht will spend Thanksgiving in a Brooklyn jail awaiting trial.

With additional reporting from Andy Greenberg in New York. Follow us on Twitter at @RMac18 and @runasandAnonymously send FORBES documents or tips here.

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