Tales From A Dead Man: Curtis Green on Silk Road, Ulbricht

The Silk Road trial concluded over a year ago, resulting in a double life sentence for Ross Ulbricht, the alleged ringleader and admitted creator of Silk Road. With the sentence handed down a page was turned in the digital history book of the internet. Even with the trial in the past, there are still new developments and information that enshrine this story in internet lore forever. The Silk Road saga is far from over, but it has progressed far enough to see where the cards have fallen for many of the key players.

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Curtis Green
Curtis Green

Communities are made up of people working to grow the space they linger in. In some form or another, every member of the Silk Road website contributed to its place in history and legacy. Curtis Green was one of those people and played a pivotal role in the growth and takedown of the site.

Green was one of the site administrators of Silk Road, tasked with different duties in managing the underground marketplace. He was mainly assisting with passwords, dispute resolution and answering basic questions. Green was essentially a customer support representative for the Silk Road. He was paid for his time in Bitcoin and remained in the good graces of the Dread Pirate Roberts and other staff. That is, until a heist of $350,000 in Bitcoin occurred with Green as the prime suspect. Chat logs provided by authorities allege that DPR arranged for Green to be beaten up to retrieve the coins, an arrangement that escalated to murder. Allegedly, this was along with five other “murder” contracts unrelated to Green and involving other parties. None of these contracts was ever carried out and no murders ever occurred, as far as the public is aware.

Neither this specific murder-for-hire claim, nor any other, has ever been taken to a courtroom or proven true. It is also not clear if there was only one DPR or multiple people working under the alias. Recent corruption charges involving the agents involved cast public doubt on the legitimacy of the official story and other charges. Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’ mother, has made it clear that the agents had high level access to the site and had the ability to manipulate the logs and steal funds from the site. This has been confirmed through Department of Justice filings.

Regardless, Green was now at the center of a difficult situation. The reported story is that DPR arranged for drugs to be sent to Green’s residence. Green’s involvement and intent with the physical trafficking of drugs remains unclear. In this case a kilogram of cocaine sold online for around $27,000 was sent to Green. Unbeknownst to Green, an undercover agent was involved and he was promptly arrested after receiving it. DPR and assistant Cimon (AKA Variety Jones) in the released logs discussed the possibility of having Green killed, especially after word reached DPR of the arrest.

Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force and ex Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges were involved in plotting the fake murder-for-hire. Shaun Bridges was also working for the NSA at this time in a joint-duty assignment. Their unit received an upfront payment from DPR of $40,000 through an Australian bank used for undercover operations, followed by an additional $40,000 in Bitcoin after “completion”. The story is that these agents staged a crime scene and sent a photo to DPR of Curtis’ “dead” body after giving him a thrashing. The beating was also faked and not a real physical encounter, as Curtis was cooperating with the authorities.  The photo was only to convince DPR that the “hitmen” had done as promised. This story has only been corroborated by chat logs provided by the authorities. Curtis is still alive to this day and went on to deal with his legal issues.

On 11/18/2013 Curtis gave the following statement to a courtroom about his involvement with Silk Road as part of his cooperation:

“I was an employee of Silk Road from approximately November 2012 until January 2013. I got involved in SR because I was interested in Bitcoin and SR was the biggest marketplace for Bitcoin. I also had an interest in harm reduction related to drug use. Initially I just chatted on the forum, and that led to DPR hiring me to work for SR. I was basically employed as a customer service rep, assisting people to use the site. I never used illegal drugs and I never intended to be directly involved in illegal drug deals.

“In January 2013 federal agents stormed into my home and arrested me on drug charges. According to federal agents, DPR paid an undercover agent to murder me. The agents took photos as they faked my murder. I did not know the identity of DPR or any other user of SR. I never stole from DPR, SR or any SR users. On the advice of my attorney, I cannot give any further details, as I still face serious federal charges.”

Curtis has not been hiding, but he hasn’t been fully public since things settled down after the trial. He was referred to me to chat about his past and what the future holds for him. He will also be doing an AMA on Reddit soon to discuss his experience in greater detail.

Curtis Green Shares Silk Road Experience

Silk Road DarkentPoly Paradyme (PP): You’ve been understandably out of the public eye for some time now, Curtis. To what do we owe this reappearance?

Curtis: Well, obviously I couldn’t say anything until my case was resolved. I still have to be careful on what I say due to certain legal restraints, but I can give my views and opinions on what transpired. I’ve just started writing a book with some help. The aim of this book is to simply provide my point of view on this chaotic and unfortunate series of events. My reappearance is to make the Bitcoin community aware of the book and fundraise for it.

PP: You must have been watching the Silk Road trial with great interest. What was your involvement and did you have any reaction to the verdict?

Curtis: Oh yeah, I wish I could have been there, there was a chance I could have been called as a witness and my bags were packed. Ross’s attorney wanted me on the stand but the judge intervened. I didn’t dare go as a spectator due to some death threats I was receiving. I never got a subpoena so I did not attend.  The trial was very interesting, I just read about it like everyone else did. I was surprised how harsh the judge was. I wasn’t there, so it’s hard to form a real opinion, but from what I read it seemed that Ross was doomed from the get go.

I wasn’t surprised that he was found guilty, he admitted that he was at least the creator of Silk Road, I was, however, very shocked at the verdict. I think his verdict for what he was on trial for was draconian and unjust.

PP: Ross is spending his life in jail, partially due to the media storm relating to the alleged murder for hires. Is there anything connected to that you’re able to share?  Will we be hearing about it in the book?

Curtis: He wasn’t tried for the murder-for-hire charge, in fact, he wasn’t charged with that in NY. The indictment is over three years old and never taken to trial or proven. The charge itself is also based on the testimony from Agent Force who is currently in prison. There is still is an active charge in Baltimore, MD that hasn’t gone anywhere.  From what I read, they did use the murder-for-hire charge to get the life sentence as it was mentioned during closing statement . The murder-for-hire charge involving me isn’t the only one that they allege he tried to carry out, so I don’t know how much of my murder-for-hire really was factored into sentencing. In the upcoming book I will be going over this situation with greater detail.

As far as the media goes, it is juicer to bring up the term, “murder-for-hire”, it makes it more interesting and drives traffic.  He wasn’t being charged with it so I was very surprised that it can even been brought up during a trial. Now, if he was convicted of the murder-for-hire accusation, then I can see how they are able to bring it up. I honestly believe that most trials are leaned toward the benefit of the government. I will be sharing my own experience that I had with the government in the book, and will go into specifics how the situation came about along with how the feds were so sure that I was the Bitcoin thief and how they berated me nearly every day accusing me of the theft.

After ten months of accusations of theft and “fake” waterboarding I can honestly see why innocent people will admit to something they didn’t do just for the authorities to stop.  I was very shocked that they used the murder-for-hire against him for his sentencing, again. Life in prison for starting a website that sold drugs and other things, to me, is draconian and unfair. Especially when other vendors that sold many kilos of heroin and cocaine only received ten years or less, again, all of this and more will be in the book.

I will get into how the government ended up on my doorstep, what they did when they were in my house, what they made me do etc. Due to some legal restraints, I can’t bring them up immediately,  but I can talk about everything in my upcoming book. I promise you won’t disappointed.

PP: What’s this book going to be focusing on? What’s the timeline for the release?

Curtis: The book is going to give a brief history of how I became involved in Bitcoin and eventually the site Silk Road. I will go into detail how I got to know DPR and our conversations that we had over time, how he asked me to the moderator of the Harm Reduction section in the forum. Of course we will touch on how and why he asked me to be full time administrator on the site.

There will be a strong focus on how and why I was arrested. How I think they found the servers, Nobs’ (Carl Force) role in all of this and what had happened in the proffer session with the task force from Baltimore. It was in that session that Bridges stole those bitcoins and made it look like I was the thief. I’ll also go into that year after when the prosecution and Force would call me daily threatening me. It was one of, if not the most, difficult times in my life. When they were accusing me of the theft while I was with them, they broke me mentally, I’ll tell in the book how that went down.

There is a lot that has happened that no-one has heard of. There’s a small pile of facts that never hit the web but my book is first hand perspective. I know that there have been books written and others that are being written. As far as I know, my book is the only book that is from first hand knowledge. We just started writing and we are very excited because most people are going to think that this book is fiction, it’s hard to believe that someone really had to live this ride.

I will be providing the photo that was sent as proof of death and twenty pages of communication between Carl Force and other vendors and a couple with DPR. Some are encrypted, but the majority is plain text.

PP: What’s the next steps for getting the book done?

writingCurtis: I’m crowdfunding for my upcoming book but the title is still up in the air for now. All of the proceeds will go towards the costs of writing/editing and advertising of the book. I will not be profiting from the proceeds of the fundraiser/pre-order campaign.

I’ve arranged for some great help from a pair of great authors. Dave Farland, and Diann T. Read.  I am paying them both for their services writing the book. Dave Farland heard about my story and actually contacted me first about helping me write and edit the book. We both feel strongly that my story needs to be told in the proper fashion. He’s actually doing this at a huge discount, there is no way I could get his caliber of writing done with the budget that I have. My story will be told in a very exciting and professional manner.

I’m grateful for the support and interest that everyone has shown so far.  I need to get 250 pre-orders but if we don’t reach that goal everyone gets refunded. I feel that no matter what your feelings are on Silk Road, if you want more information from another point of view this will be a good read for you.  By pre-ordering, you get some extra perks which are listed in detail on the fundraiser page. Here’s the link to the crowdfunding site, they are also accepting Bitcoin as payment through Coinbase: http://publishizer.com/silk-road-memoir/

Rare Inside Perspective On Silk Road Story

Green undoubtedly has one of the most inside perspectives on Silk Road and stories to tell.  Being clear of all charges relating to Silk Road puts him in a unique position to tell his side of things. All of the other major players with Silk Road are either in jail, off the grid, or otherwise unable to comment. Green will be sharing some information in his upcoming AMA on Reddit, but the truly interesting tidbits will be included in the book.

Your opinion of Curtis Green and Silk Road may be positive or negative. He is providing us a window back in time to piece together what happened in this corner of the deep web. No matter what your perspective, real information on this matter is rare. Silk Road has proven to be one of the most important and resilient stories in the social media age. The trial and the events surrounding it touch on so many social, political, and economic issues that have been grossly undiscussed in the digital era we are passing into. Through history, context, and reflection the internet can gain insight for the future by learning from the past.

Be sure to check out Curtis Green’s AMA on Reddit, coming up this week. 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Curtis Green, Bitcoin.com.