More Prison Time for Ex-Agent in Silk Road Case
Shaun Bridges, the dirty Secret Service agent who had already landed a six-year prison sentence for the theft of $800,000 worth of bitcoins during the Silk Road investigation, just received another two-years for another bitcoin heist.
In March 2015, authorities arrested Shaun Bridges and Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force. Both men had been part of the team behind the investigation and seizure of the Silk Road marketplace. Both men had stolen substantial amounts of bitcoin from the Silk Road and diverted the money into their bitcoin wallets. Bridges later pleaded guilty to both money laundering and obstruction of justice. Force, in turn, pleaded guilty to money laundering, extortion, and obstruction of justice.
The Department of Justice settled upon a 71-month sentence for Bridges and an 87-month sentence for Force. Bridges also agreed to forfeit $500,000 to the U.S. government. “I’ve lost a lot,” Bridges allegedly told the court. “I’ve accepted responsibility…I just [want] to apologize to everybody.”
However, Bridges had not ended his desperate attempt to keep bitcoin from the government (or from the original owners). Before serving any prison time, the corrupt agent managed to divert “government-owned” bitcoin to wallets under his control. The former Secret Service agent had stolen the current equivalent of $11.3 million in bitcoin.
The incident came out of nowhere. News about the agent had dulled to a whisper. Then, on January 28, federal agents raided the 35-year-old disgraced agent’s house one day before he was scheduled to surrender himself to the prison system for intake. The authorities claimed Bridges had posed a serious flight risk and reported finding items such as passports and packed travel bags during the raid. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg had already banned Bridges from leaving the country or changing his name; the court had given the man temporary freedom but acknowledged the significant flight risk he posed.
Later documents revealed that Bridges had used his former Secret Service position to access the private key associated with a government bitcoin wallet. The wallet had contained (at least) 1,600 bitcoins linked to a 2014 bitcoin exchange investigation. He transferred the bitcoins to multiple wallets under his control.
Bridges admitted to the bitcoin theft and signed a plea agreement that imposed a sentence of 24-months in prison for one count of money laundering. “Bridges was also ordered to forfeit approximately 1,500 bitcoin and other fiat currency, which is currently valued at approximately $10.4 million,” the Department of Justice press release added.