Corrupt Silk Road Agent Gets Additional 2 Years in Jail

A former U.S. Secret Service agent by the name Shaun Bridges just received a sentence of two additional years in prison for his corrupt practices during the takedown of the infamous darknet market Silk Road.

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Man in jail behind bars
Former Silk Road investigator Shaun Bridges has been sentenced to two more years in prison after confessing to a new crime.

According to District Court Judge Richard Seeborg, the totality of crimes committed by Bridges, together with his continued dishonesty to the authorities, was a total betrayal of trust and one of the worst offenses.

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In August of this year, Bridges subsequently pleaded guilty to two new accounts of related forfeit and money laundering.

Two years back in 2015, Bridges had been sentenced to 71 months of imprisonment after he was found guilty of stealing money from online traders when he was investigating the underground dark web market Silk Road, which was shut down in 2013.

Judge Seeborg further identified that it was mainly troubling that Bridges continued to engage in more efforts to hide information even after he had entered into a plea agreement.

The judge also noted that Bridges had changed his perception of his criminal acts and seemed to be acting in a manner to suggest he was moving forward with his life.

Bridges spoke briefly during his hearing and began crying as he addressed the judge. According to his statement, he was aware of why he was in that position and what had led him to that point.

He further spoke to the court about the state of his former prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Bridges noted that during his time in the prison, he was unable to access any recreational or educational facilities and opportunities, a factor he says contributed to his admission.

More than a year ago after the Silk Road shutdown and subsequent investigations into Bridges’ behavior, U.S. federal authorities strongly suggested that even after Bridges had been dismissed from the Secret Service and penned his signature on his first guilty plea, he had already transferred himself over 1,600 bitcoins illegally.

U.S. federal authorities had earlier seized those digital currencies from a European exchange known as Bitstamp, although the exchange later challenged this seizure.

According to an August 2017 court filing, Bridges had allegedly laundered these funds from the U.S. government through moving the coins from the BTC-e account and moving them into several other online accounts and wallets.

In January 2016 when the federal agents approached him, Bridges directed them to how and where to locate a total of 600 bitcoins which were then at Bitfinex and another lot of about 1,000 bitcoins safeguarded in a cold hardware wallet.

What he did not know then was that the Secret Service had already discovered the Bitfinex coins.

During the court proceedings, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Frentzen described that although Bridges did deserve the punishment, he also did help with the crackdown.

In his explanation, Frentzen explained that the reason why Bridges earned an additional sentence was because he provided new and more information which he had not produced earlier in the proceedings.

Mallet of the judge
Bridges earned an additional sentence

In an exclusive sentencing memorandum filed before the hearing this month, Laurel Headley, who serves as Bridges’ attorney, asked the court to impose a two-year sentence which Bridges would serve together with the 71-month sentence he was already then serving for the corruption in the Silk Road investigation.

According to Headley, the fact that Bridges did, in the end, come clean and cooperated with authorities should at least represent something while issuing the judgment.

She noted that unlike earlier, her client had been more cooperative with the authorities, even allowing unfettered questioning.

Before this hearing, Bridges parents had both submitted letters to Judge Seeborg asking him to consider their son’s predicament since his wife had just divorced, further requesting a “fair decision” to assist him in putting his life “back on track.”

It is highly likely that Shaun Bridges will be locked in a facility in proximity to Maryland, his home state.

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