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Second U.S. Agent To Plead Guilty to Bitcoin Theft

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:44 PM
Lester Coleman
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:44 PM

The second of two former U.S. government agents charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin has reached a plea agreement with the prosecutors.

Carl Force, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, was charged with stealing bitcoins during the investigation of the illegal Silk Road Internet drug emporium, according to Bloomberg . The investigation led to the conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the site’s founder. Force agreed to plead guilty to money laundering and extortion, according to a court filing Monday.

Force Extorted Payments from Ulbricht

Without telling his superiors, Force used the alias “French Maid” to extort and negotiate with Ulbricht. Force sold information about the government’s investigation in exchange for payment, according to a San Francisco federal court filing Monday. Using this alias and others, Force channeled more than $400,000 in digital currency to his personal bank accounts, according to the filings.

Force’s agreement follows a similar arrangement on June 17 with Shaun Bridges, a U.S. Secret Service agent who worked with Force on the same Baltimore task force.

Ivan Bates, a lawyer for Force, and prosecutors requested a July 1 hearing to enter the guilty pleas.

Bates did not return phone and e-mail messages left after business hours Monday.

Also read: DEA and Secret Service agents steal bitcoins from Silk Road

Force: 15-year Veteran DEA Agent

Force was a DEA agent for almost 15 years who resigned last year after the investigation began, according to CCN.com. Bridges was a Secret Service agent for about six years and also resigned last year when the investigation began.

The amount of bitcoins stolen is unknown.

A court sentenced Ulbricht the harshest sentence possible, including a 20-year life sentence, one for five years, one for 15 years and two for life, all served concurrently and without the possibility of parole. Ulbricht has appealed his conviction and life sentence. A jury found Ulbricht guilty in February on all seven counts with which he was charged, such as running a narcotics-trafficking enterprise, money laundering and computer hacking.

The case is USA v. Force, 15-cr-00319, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).