Money laundering, drug trafficking and computer hacking.
Those are just some of the charges that 30-year-old Ross Ulbricht, the accused founder of the anonymous black market site Silk Road, will be facing when his trial kicks off in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday.
And although the case grabbed headlines 15 months ago because of the lurid nature of the allegations, the implications of the trial go beyond mere illegal activity. The case could reveal details about how the government monitors Internet activity, and potentially expand legal liability for commerce in contraband online.
Ulbricht, also referred to as Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested on allegations that he created and operated Silk Road, a marketplace website on the so-called Dark Net that enabled users to anonymously buy and sell things using Bitcoin as a payment method.
While Silk Road enabled the sale of a variety of goods and services, it was also a hotbed for the sale of illegal drugs.
Ulbright, who was also charged with running a criminal enterprise, has maintained that he is not guilty on all charges. But if he is convicted he faces 20 years to life in prison.
The outcome of his case, though, may also have broader implications for Internet freedoms and businesses.