Computer programmer pleads guilty to lying about his involvement in the Silk Road

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A computer programmer has pleaded guilty to making false statements about his involvement in the Silk Road underground web market.

On September 21, Michael R. Weigand (also known as “Shabang”) surrendered and told US District Judge William H. Pauley III that he had lied to federal investigators about his work with Silk Road.

Weigand clarified that he had worked with Roger Thomas Clark, the mentor of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, in helping to identify vulnerabilities in the dark canvas market site. He said he also provided technology advice to Ulbricht and Clark.

Thai law enforcement stopped Clark in December 2015, just months after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Ulbricht to life imprisonment.

In January 2019, Weigand lied to federal investigators claiming that he had never opened an account on Silk Road, that he had never used the pseudonym “Shabang” online, and that he had never transferred bitcoin to Silk Road, among other lies.

His admission was punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

FBI Deputy Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said Weigand and his Silk Road associates believed law enforcement would never catch up to them. As quoted in a declaration published by the US Department of Justice:

Weigand and others have used their skills and know-how to create a secret online enclave for criminals to trade in illegal drugs and illicit goods and services. They thought they were smart enough to evade law enforcement, but they were wrong. When Weigand was confronted, he lied about his involvement – once again thinking we weren’t smart enough to catch him. With today’s plea, he will have time to contemplate the truth while awaiting sentence.

At the time of this writing, Weigand was to receive his (Read more…)


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