A former Secret Service agent has pleaded guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice during an investigation of online black market Silk Road.
Shaun Bridges appeared in federal court in San Francisco on Monday and admitted diverting over $820,000 worth of bitcoin to his personal account after getting access to Silk Road.
According to the plea, after resetting passwords and PINs of a number of Silk Road accounts, Bridges funneled the 20,000 bitcoins, worth $350,000 at that time, through a series of “complex transactions” with a stop at Mt. Gox before converting them into US dollars in May 2013.
Bridges also admitted that his theft had made Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht believe that another individual was stealing from Silk Road, which led Ulbricht to try to hire a gunman to kill that person.
Bridges was part of a task force investigating Silk Road along with former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force, who pleaded guilty to similar charges plus extortion in July.
Force was the lead agent behind the authorized alias created to communicate with Ulbricht. He then created an unauthorized personas to extort $250,000 from Ulbricht and offered to sell information regarding the investigation for $100,000. He also admitted stealing 925 BTC or approximately $100,000 and entering a $240,000 contract with 20th Century Fox Film Studios for a film about the Silk Road’s investigation, without DEA approval.
Ulbricht was sentenced in May to life in prison after he was convicted of running the site, which facilitated more than $180m worth of drug deals.
Force is scheduled to be sentenced on October 19 and Bridges on December 7. Both faces a maximum of 20 years in prison plus a fine of $250,000 on each count.