According to the charges in a criminal complaint filed in San Francisco federal court corruption among the federal agents investigating Silk Road, an underground illicit black market that was shut down last year. The charges show that the corrupt federal agents tried to enrich themselves as they tried to bring down one of the Internet’s top cybercriminals.
Nonetheless, the federal government which ultimately became owners of one of the biggest troves of Bitcoin after Silk Road was seized did not expect that the investigating agents themselves would be stealing the assets. Now, the two now-former agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Secret Service have been charged.
The agents are: Carl Force, 46 years old, of Baltimore, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Maryland, a special agent with the U.S. Secret Service. The two are being charged with wire fraud, money laundering and other offenses for allegedly stealing Bitcoin during the federal investigation of Silk Road.
Whereas Force was a lead agent in the case, Bridges was the computer forensics experts. The document says that Force was the main investigator communicating with Ulbricht; he is being charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest. Bridges is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
The two agents were doing everything knowing well that what they were doing was illegal. For instance, Force allegedly set up fake online personas and tried to extort money from Ulbricht. He once tried to get $250,000 from him in exchange for not providing information to federal investigators. He used the online persona “French Maid for the purpose.
Rather Than Honest Investigation, the Two Agents Tried to Rich Themselves
Using this name Force did succeed in getting $100,000 in Bitcoin from Ulbricht, which he deposited in his personal accounts. Later on, he used a series of Bitcoin and personal UUSD transactions that included a $235,000 wire transfer to an account in Panama, to launder the stolen money. The court docs give detailed info how this fed agent tried to enrich himself.
On the other hand, Bridges allegedly stole $820,000. He used a series of wire transfers to move Bitcoin that earlier had been stolen from Silk Road in early 2013 and deposited in a Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Two days later, he signed the government’s warrant to seize millions of dollars in Bitcoin from Mt. Gox accounts.
The case against the two agents could also harm the case that the Fed is fighting against Ross Ulbricht as it may cause complications. Though Ulbricht was found guilty last year of aiding drug trafficking with his site, he is still awaiting sentencing.
To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at firstname.lastname@example.org