Former 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.
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.
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.
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.