Lawyer of Corrupt Silk Road Agent Withdraw from the Case

According to reports, Davina Pujari, the lawyer of Shaun Bridges, the corrupt Secret Service agent who also played a role in the Silk Road investigations, has requested that she be removed from the case as she finds his recent appeal to be frivolous.

Ms. Pujari is the third lawyer for Bridges from the start of his appeals process in December 2015.

In a recent filing to the Court of Appeals in the 9th Circuit, she noted that after a careful examination of the record and a thorough study of the case law and relevant statutes, she has come to the conclusion that only legally insignificant issues are being presented in the appeal.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

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bridges copyThe former special agent from the U.S. Secret Service pleaded guilty in August 2015 to charges of obstruction of justice and money laundering in connection with the incident of stealing bitcoins when carrying out investigations into the operations of the darknet marketplace Silk Road.

Subsequently, Bridges was sentenced to serve a term of 71 months in a prison.

Currently, he is serving this sentence in the federal prison located in Terre Haute in Indiana.

He is scheduled to be released from the prison in January 2021.

However, earlier this year in the month of February, the U.S. government pointed out that Bridges are likely to be involved in more thefts from the online drug marketplace Silk Road.

In her recent filing, Ms. Pujari has also highlighted an argument, which is partly based on Curtis Green’s testimony during the sentencing hearing of Bridges in December 2015.

curtis_greenCurtis Green was an employee of the now defunct Silk Road.

In her brief, she had pointed out that Green’s testimony was a surprise inclusion and noted that the claims were made for the first time.

She added that they did not figure in the plea agreement at all.

Moreover, the accuracy of these claims was questionable.

The district court had noted that the testimony given by Green was a significant factor in the case.

Bridges’ contention in the appeal brief filed by him is that the testimony of Green was not subjected to any kind of scrutiny or cross-examination and that his testimony cannot be considered as clear and convincing evidence.

When Green spoke at the sentencing hearing of Bridges, he was not a witness under oath.

Bridges argues in his appeal brief that his plea deal, which consists of an appeal rights waiver, is not valid as Green was permitted to speak.

He has also argued in the brief that the district court has made a mistake in the calculation of the losses incurred.

Green debriefed Shaun Bridges, Carl Mark Force (a former DEA agent who is currently behind bars on corruption charges related to the same Silk Road investigation), and other Baltimore agents in January 2013.

Following the meeting in Utah, Bridges got hold of the login credentials of Green and initiated the process of locking out the accounts of the Silk Road dealers.

Bridges then looted their accounts and grabbed as much as 20,000 bitcoins.

However, the recent filing by Davina Pujari does not address the new and unsealed charges that were brought up last month by the government against Bridges.

The government strongly suspects that Bridges has stolen another $700,000 after the finalization of his plea deal.

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Ex-Silk Road Secret Service Agent Alleged Of Additional Thefts

Shaun Bridges, one of two ex-US feds accused of going rogue during the Silkroad investigation, the other being former DEA agent Carl Force. Both were members of Baltimore Silkroad Task Force who abused their roles and former Silkroad Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges dauntlessly pursued even more alleged corrupt acts linked to the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Silkroad Theft

Silkroad TheftFormer Secret Service agent Bridges pleaded guilty in August last year to money laundering and obstruction of justice, in connection with Bitcoin theft during the investigation of the most sought after online black market at the time, the Silkroad.

Upon admitting that he stole approximately 20,000 Silkroad Bitcoins amounting to about $350,000 back then, he was sentenced in the month of December to nearly 6 years in prison. It was between March and May 2013 that he liquidated the digital currency into $820,000 and transferred funds to his personal investment accounts.

Bridges confessed that he stole money from Silkroad underground drug bazaar accounts, and framed someone else for it. The witty frame-up act had led to Silkroad creator and operator, Ross William Ulbricht, to contract a murder for the thief. Ulbricht, aka “Dread Pirate Roberts,” ended up guilty of charges and is currently serving life in prison sentence.

Two-fold Stolen Bitcoin Cases

4Bitcoins have been allegedly stolen by Shaun Bridges in two other different instances. How he managed to do so after having been initially arrested and the fact that he already pled guilty to online dark market Silkroad related charges is an interesting controversy.

Apart from stealing the Silkroad money seized by the government, Bridges is alleged man behind the theft of an estimated $700,000 worth of Bitcoins sourced from a Secret Service account. This occurrence is noted three months after his access was supposed to be blocked.

Unsealed court filings indicated that the Justice Department unraveled last April the possibility of Bridges holding a private cryptographic key. If he had, it would have granted him easy access to a Bitcoin wallet wherein the $700,000 worth of Bitcoins seized by the Silkroad task force was stored.

The department states that they have urged to block his access, but unfortunately was not done by the U.S. Secret Service. Thus, the funds were stolen and something that would have been overlooked if not with the court order to pay a portion of Bitcoin seized back to its claimants.

According to federal prosecutors, the government is running an ongoing investigation of determining if Bridges executed theft of approximately $700,000 on July 28th, only to be followed by more stealing of $20,000 Bitcoins on September 10th of 2015.

It can be noted how the document does not definitively state that the suspected former Silkroad Secret Service agent indeed took the money; however, prosecutors tell of the only individual conclusively known to have access, is no other than Shaun Bridges.

In February, right on the day before he was up to start serving his prison sentence, Bridges’ second arrest was accomplished at his Laurel, Maryland home. Officers found luggage containing a notarized copy of his passport, records for three offshore account, bulletproof vests that were issued by the Secret Service and probably stolen, which altogether appearing to be items for use in an attempt flee the country.

Currently, Bridges is in detention at the Terre Haute, Indiana prison. The Secret Service and his lawyer Steven Levin chose not to comment.

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Corrupt Silk Road Agent Allegedly Has Co-Conspirators

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A new filing in court by prosecutors states that the corrupt officer Shaun Bridges, associated with Silk Road investigations, might have had one, or more than one co-conspirator. However, the details related to this finding have not yet been fully revealed. Bridges, the ex-Secret Service agent who was sentenced to about six years in federal prison was arrested for the second time in January on suspicion that he would attempt to leave the country. The US Marshals Service has been keeping him under their custody since then, according to court records.

On completion of the trial as well as conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road mastermind, two ex-agents Shaun Bridges and Carl Force were convicted of stealing several hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoins when they were in charge of investigations into the operations of Silk Road. Bridges made use of the admin privileges provided by an arrested Silk Road administrator for stealing bitcoins worth as much as $800,000 from the drug dealers on Silk Road. He pleaded guilty of obstruction charges and money laundering last year.

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It is these thefts that prompted the creator of the dark web drug marketplace Silk Road, who operated under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” to allegedly hire a hit man to assassinate one of his former employees. However, the person he hired was an undercover agent who worked with the DEA, Carl Force.

Bridges who has been kept in custody following his re-arrest on 28 January 2016 had sought to unseal the evidence of government in order to help him defend himself and also to get his property back. Bridges complained that he has not only been denied his freedom, but also his property without any indicating any wrongdoings by him.

In the response filed by the prosecutors, they requested that the judge keep everything under seal because they were continuing to look into the full extent of crimes committed by Bridges.

Despite the fact that there is not much information against him, the government prosecutors continue to state that Bridges is guilty of committing several additional crimes, including those that happened prior to and after the date on which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the term in prison.

According to prosecutors, they have come across evidence related to additional crimes committed by him during a search of the house of Bridges one day prior to the scheduled date on which he was to surrender himself to a federal prison. Reportedly, police found corporate documents related to offshore companies, a passport card, and documents relating to the attempts made by his wife to obtain the citizenship of another country, among other things.

In their filing, the prosecutors noted that though Bridges is currently in custody on the underlying case, co-conspirator(s) who worked with him are free and, therefore, the investigations would be hampered if the information included in the search warrant was disclosed.

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As of now, the nature of the additional crimes committed by Bridges is unclear. However, in a filing dated 17 February 2016 it is noted that additional bitcoin thefts from accounts have been observed. The government believes that Bridges could have worked with others in these thefts.

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Former Silk Road Agent Attempted To Flee The Country, Re-Arrested

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bridges.headshotFormer Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges was re-arrested on 28th of January 2016. This arrest comes just one day before he was scheduled to turn himself in to prison authorities in Baltimore to begin his sentence of 71 months for the theft of 20,000 bitcoins with an estimated value of about $800,000 in connection to investigations into the Silk Road. He was suspected of trying to flee the country and so had to be arrested. Prosecutors say the arrest went without incident, but that the arresting officers discovered passports, bulletproof vests and documents for offshore companies in Mauritius, Belize and Nevis. At least one of the bullet proof vests had Secret Service markings on it and is therefore believed to have been stolen from the government.

Also discovered during the arrest were documents for his wife, Ariana Esposito, which shows her attempts at obtaining citizenship in a different country. A MacBook with scratched off serial number and an iPad were also discovered. Exactly what all of the evidence means is hard to say but prosecutors argue that it is enough proof that Bridges never intended to report to prison authorities as scheduled.

Sentencing to 71 months

Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty in October 2015 to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice in connection to the Silk Road case, and agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution. He was then released on bail and later sentenced to 71 months in jail in December 2015.

During his sentencing back in December, 2015, Bridges was ordered to forfeit all funds which are a result of the Bitcoin theft from the Silk Road. These include $475,000 in cash, and funds held in investments. The US District Judge Richard Seeborg while sentencing Bridges said the case was to him an extremely serious crime which consisted of the betrayal of the public’s trust from a public official, and that it was motivated by greed. And although he hardly ever finds himself in a position to impose high-end sentences, he did find it warranted in this case.

A little background of the Bitcoin theft

As a Secret Service agent, Shaun Bridges was charged with guarding the members of the First Family. He has also worked for the National Security Agency and has been considered a kind of hero. But after he got assigned to the Silk Road Task Force, things started to change.

In May of 2013, Bridges wired $820,000 from his account at Mt. Gox, which was the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world back then into an account belonging to Quantum International Investments, LLC, a company he had just registered in February of the same year. Two days later, he closes down Mt. Gox by seizing $2.1 million in its accounts with a seizure warrant against Mt. Gox which he organized. While on the surface, everything looked like he was a serious cop doing his job, the seizure of the funds at Mt. Gox was actually a stunt to prevent authorities from finding out about his $820,000 because he had heard that an investigation was being carried out against Mt. Gox. By this action, the investigation was shut down but Bridges’ problems were not yet over.

The Curtis Green Story

Early in 2013, the Silk Road Task Force, with which Shaun Bridges worked, had a major breakthrough in their case against the Dread Pirate Roberts, the owner of the Silk Road. They arrested a man named Curtis Green, who was a moderator on the website, and in order to receive a lighter punishment, Green decided to cooperate with the authorities.

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Having decided to help the “good guys” as he put it, he went ahead to give 100% detailed information on any question asked him. He revealed to the agents how to log onto the Silk Road servers, how to change passwords, and how to perform other administrative tasks. According to Green, one agent kept asking him over and over to describe how to log in, and how to change passwords, that agent was Shaun Bridges.

Making the Steal – 20,000 Bitcoins

Having taken enough notes from the interrogation of Curtis Green, Bridges went to work on the servers of the Silk Road, he changed the passwords of all the drug dealers on the website, thereby locking them out of their accounts, and then transferred all their bitcoins into the account of Curtis Green. They were approximately 20,000 bitcoins in total, and they had an estimated worth of about $300, 000 then.

Framing Curtis Green

When Bridges transferred the bitcoins he stole into Green’s account on the Silk Road, he had effectively made it seem like it was Green who had stolen the money. The members of the site who have lost money then also later heard that Green was cooperating with the authorities and his frame-up was complete. He explained that he received well over 30 death threats from people who though he had stolen their money, and that the Dread Pirate Roberts himself ordered hit on him.

Unluckily for the Dread Pirate Roberts, one of the killers he hired on the website was none other than Carl Mark Force IV, who was working undercover on the Silk Road. The agents worked together with Green to fool the Dread Pirate Roberts into believing he had been murdered. They took pictures of him lying in a dead position and faked it well, DPR believed it, and it was this hit on Green that would help cause his arrest.

The Turnout

In May 2014, Carl Mark Force IV, who was not very careful with his illegal activities got reported by a Bitcoin exchange named Bitstamp. On March 18, 2015, Bridges was suspended as a result of Mark Force’s case having shed light on his own illegal activities. He resigned, and things have been getting worse for him since then.

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Today, he is in jail, his wife, Ariana Esposito, who quickly married him so as to evoke spousal immunity and not testifies against him in court, has lost her chance for a job as a state trooper, after having completed the trooper academy. Ross Ulbricht a.k.a the Dread Pirate Roberts was sentenced to life in prison and Carl Mark Force IV was sentenced to six and a half years. Curtis Green was sentenced to time served and is currently undergoing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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