Robert Faiella was handed a 4-year prison sentence for Silk Road-related charges of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
The sentence comes nearly one year after he was arrested along with Charlie Shrem, with whom he colluded to supply Silk Road users with over $1 million in bitcoins. Shrem was recently sentenced to two years in prison. Both pleaded guilty to charges in September and forfeited $950,000.
Faiella, who worked under the pseudonym “BTCKing”, allegedly passed purchase orders on to Shrem, who would fill them. He also had funds transferred to his account at an unidentified exchange in Japan.
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His attorney, Timothy Treanor, argued that his client “is not a sophisticated man” and “not a one-man crime wave.” Faiella claimed to have turned to the new enterprise in order to support his family after back problems disabled him from continuing work as a plumber.
Judge Jed Rakoff, however, pointed out that Faiella was previously convicted for tax-related offenses. “In his case, clearly he didn’t learn the lesson,” he said. Faiella faced a maximum of five years if convicted.
Prior to sentencing, Faiella told the judge, “At the time of the event, I saw no other way…it still doesn’t mitigate that I broke the law.”
Both Shrem and Faiella are to report to prison in March.