ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. Silk Road 3 is up and running with a big selection of goods.
A former DEA agent Carl Force IV has been sentenced to six and a half years on October 19th for his role in illegal financial transactions, extortion and impediment of justice while investigating the Silk Road case. Carl went rogue in the midst of US government’s inquiry on the darkweb drug bazaar. Prosecutors had requested the federal court to give him a jail term of approximately 7 yrs. and 3 months, including another 3 yrs. of supervised parole after serving his prison time. He had earlier pled guilty to the charges in July.
According to recorded court documents, the defense team had planned to ask for a ruling beneath the set statutory guidelines. On grounds that Force suffered from psychological health problems during the time he committed these crimes, a basis which the government side already disputed in its filings.
Earlier, the defense had presented a motion to have Carl’s sentence minimized under seal on 9th October, this is the same day that government filed a sentencing memorandum against him. Acting U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch had submitted in the state’s filing that Force abused public trust and blotted the reputation of federal law enforcement with his unprofessional Silk Road investigations. And that he doesn’t deserve any leniency.
Later on he also wrote that Carl’s actions had damaged the law enforcement’s reputation. According to Stretch, by giving the defendant a gun and badge, government expected him to act with manners consistent to the standards of a sworn-in law enforcement agent, namely protecting and serving the public. However, he breached this privilege and undermined the government’s credibility through his Silk Road involvement.
Brian’s affidavit had further goes on to mention how the presiding court must act decisively, so that other participants in corruption can learn a lesson from it. Prosecutors had expected this Silk Road ruling to send a message that such conduct would not be tolerated, but rather met with harsh penalty in form of long prison sentencing.
Acting U.S Attorney also wrote that other government employees will see what sentence Force receives, and this will be an example to them of what can happen if they betray public trust. Carl Force IV thought he could get away with his Silk Road crimes given that bitcoin is decentralized virtual money.
Unlike other traditional currencies like the American dollar, bitcoins are distributed and managed without a central governing authority. There is no state organ, company, or bank in-charge of administration, control and operation. Hence, making it less traceable in case someone decides to swindle them unlawfully, as was the case with Carl.
Force created several fictitious personas by which he extorted targets of his own unlawful investigations, offering in turn not to provide the state with these targets’ identity and actively serving on their payroll. Carl consequently conned not just the Silk Road operatives, but also the US government.
Furthermore, he stole and converted bitcoins worth hundreds of thousands in dollars which he attained in his official employed capacity, but then deposited them into his private bank accounts. He also run illegal criminal checks on certain individuals to benefit a 3rd party company, pretending to be this company’s Chief Compliance Officer while still employed as a fed.
Force forged and presented an official Department of Justice subpoena, all on behalf of a fraudulent firm and then directed it to make payments to his own individual account. He attempted to block evidence of his misdemeanor by threatening the concerned company with legal suit, and then directed another cop to seize its banking details. Later on, the accused covered his tracks by putting evidence of his Silk Road offenses in a burn bag, then lying about the foregoing conduct to state prosecutors and agents.
Prosecutors argued that his crimes don’t represent a “one-off” thing, where he had a brief lapse in judgment. But rather committed these crimes over a course of several months knowingly, during which period he had enough time to ponder and reflect on his actions but chose not to. Force continued practicing impunity till he was finally caught by officials. His was a well-calculated crime syndicate intended to avoid detection.