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$6.7 Million: Rogue Silk Road Agent Pleads Guilty to Another Bitcoin Theft

Last Updated May 5, 2023 10:12 AM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated May 5, 2023 10:12 AM

CCN.com previously reported that former U.S. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges had pleaded guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice while investigating the Silk Road case. At the time, Bridges admitted he stole over $800,000 in bitcoin while serving on a Baltimore task force investigating the dark web marketplace.

Bridges was then sentenced to 71 months in prison. At the time, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force was sentenced to 78 months, for money laundering, extortion, and obstruction of justice. Both cases were controversial as the agents went rogue while investigating the Silk Road case and, yet, information was withheld during Ross Ulbricht’s trial, in which he was sentenced to life in prison for running the now-defunct dark web bazaar.

Now, court documents  show that Bridges stole an additional 1,600.6488 bitcoins from a separate investigation. At the time of his arrest, these coins were worth about $470,000 but at current prices, they’re worth over $6.5 million.

These coins came from Bitstamp and were illegally transferred to a wallet he owned after he signed his first guilty plea. These had been seized by authorities from Bitstamp, which later challenged the seizure .

According to court documents, Bridges then sent his bitcoins to BTC-e, the exchange that was shut down earlier this month and may soon come back and issue a token to repay users. He then proceeded to move small amounts of bitcoin to other wallets he used. The documents read:

[Shaun Bridges] laundered the funds stolen from the United States government by moving the funds out of the BTC-e account and into other various online wallets and accounts.

Prosecutors added that Bridges’ experience with the “criminal underworld” made him aware that using BTC-e, instead of another exchange with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies, would maximize his chances of getting away. Documents show 605 bitcoins were deposited to Bitfinex, while 1,037 went to a hardware wallet.

Sentence Could Go up to 10 Years

Bridges acknowledged to willingly agree  to the plea deal. During the hearing, U.S. attorney William Frentzen ran through a summary of the events, explaining that Bridges laundered the bitcoins using BTC-e, and that some of the funds were sent to Hong-Kong based Bitfinex. Per his words, these were recovered:

We would also prove that Mr. Bridges, following the government’s discovery that the bitcoin were missing and that they had in fact been moved, the government was able to obtain the bitcoin at Bitfinex.

When asked if the stated facts were true and accurate, Bridges stated that they were and, when told to review a table of the bitcoin transactions he did and asked if they were accurate, he responded with “from what I know them to be, yes.”

If convicted, the former Secret Service agent may see another 10 years added to his prison sentence, as well as a $250,000 fine.

Featured image from Shutterstock.