Earlier today, a former United States secret service agent pleaded guilty for the theft of over $820,000 worth of digital currency, Bitcoin, during the federal investigation of an online marketplace, Silk Road, which was being used to facilitate the sale and purchase of illegal drugs as well as other illicit goods.
According to the Department of Justice, Shaun W. Bridges who had been working in the Baltimore Field Office as a special secret service agent for the United States Secret Service for almost six years. He was assigned to the Electronic Crimes Task Force.
On August 31st, he appeared in the federal court in San Francisco and pleaded guilty before the US District Judge for money laundering of $820,000 and obstruction of justice.
United States Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said,
“Mr. Bridges has now admitted that he brazenly stole $820,000 worth of digital currency while working as a U.S. Secret Service special agent, a move that completely violated the public’s trust.”
For those of you who are not aware of the situation, Silk Road was an anonymous marketplace that operated for more than two years but then at the beginning of October 2013 the website was seized, the owner and the creator, Ross William Ulbricht, was arrested by the FBI for running illegal online marketplace.
Ulbricht, who is also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, was sentenced to life in prison by US district judge for operating an illegal underground platform Silk Road and generating more than $200 million in sales of drugs, money laundering and other unlawful activities using bitcoin.
Now here’s more about Bridges. He admitted that the stolen bitcoin worth $820,000 was moved into an account at Mt. Gox, which is an online currency exchange based in Japan, between the months of March and May in 2013. And then later transferred those funds into his personal investment accounts located in the US.
In the plea agreement of Bridges, it is clearly mentioned that he misused the Baltimore federal investigations of Silk Road as well as Ulbricht in numerous ways. He slowed down the investigations in an attempt to completely exploit his access to Silk Road.
Furthermore, he made multiple deceptive and fabricated statements to investigators by being in a link with the San Francisco federal jury into his own illegal activities, and in order to hide his crimes, he also encouraged another government employee to lie to the investigators.
Sentencing hearing for Bridges is scheduled for December 7th of this year.
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