Computer Programmer ~Shabang~ Sentenced To Prison

Computer Programmer ~Shabang~ Sentenced To Prison

Computer Programmer ~Shabang~ Sentenced To Prison

Computer Programmer ~Shabang~ Sentenced To Prison

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL R. WEIGAND, a/k/a “Shabang,” a/k/a “~Shabang~,” a/k/a “~s,” a/k/a “s,” was sentenced to eight months in Prison today for making false statements to federal agents about his involvement in, and his work for, the “Silk Road” online illicit black market, which was responsible for distributing hundreds of millions of dollars of narcotics and other contraband.  WEIGAND’s false statements concealed his role in the operation of the Silk Road website.  WEIGAND previously pled guilty before United States District Judge William H. Pauley III, who also imposed today’s sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Michael Weigand supplied technological advice directly to the leadership of Silk Road, a secret online marketplace for criminal activity.  He laundered Silk Road proceeds and traveled overseas to remove Silk Road evidence from a co-conspirator’s residence.  Weigand subsequently lied to law enforcement, falsely claiming to have done nothing for Silk Road, and has now been sentenced to prison for that knowing falsehood.”

WEIGAND, a computer programmer and electrical engineer, worked with Roger Thomas Clark, the senior adviser to Ulbricht, on certain aspects of Silk Road.  For instance, WEIGAND and Clark worked to identify technological vulnerabilities in the Silk Road website.  WEIGAND also supplied technological advice directly to Clark and Ulbricht.  After Silk Road was shut down in October 2013, WEIGAND laundered more than $75,000 in Silk Road proceeds.  In addition, in late 2013, the Government disclosed that it had been able to access the contents of Ulbricht’s laptop computer, which identified Clark as Ulbricht’s right-hand man; shortly after this revelation, Clark transferred more than $20,000 to WEIGAND in Bitcoin, and WEIGAND traveled to Clark’s London residence and removed Silk Road evidence.

In January 2019, WEIGAND was questioned by IRS and FBI Special Agents.  After being specifically warned that it is a federal crime to make a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer, WEIGAND attempted to cover up his involvement in Silk Road by falsely stating, among other things, that

(1) he never opened an account on Silk Road;

(2) he never used the online pseudonyms “Shabang” or “~Shabang~”;

(3) he never transferred Bitcoin to Silk Road;

(4) he never exposed computer security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road website;

(5) he never communicated with anyone who used the online pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” “DPR,” or “Silk Road” (i.e., Ulbricht);

(6) he never performed any services for the Silk Road website; and

(7) he did not know the true identity of “Variety Jones” (one of Clark’s pseudonyms) on Silk Road.  WEIGAND also falsely stated that the purpose of his trip to London in late 2013, following the takedown of the Silk Road website and arrest of Ulbricht, was to meet with Clark’s associate regarding a marijuana seed business; in fact, WEIGAND went to Clark’s London residence and removed physical Silk Road evidence.

In addition to his prison term, WEIGAND, 59, of Kirtland, Ohio, was sentenced to 8 months and three years of supervised release.

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