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A former special agent and computer forensics expert with the United States Secret Service has reached a plea deal on charges that he fraudulently obtained $820,000 dollars in Bitcoin during the investigation into the online black market “Silk Road”, according to court documents.
Notice of the agreement was filed in the United States District Court Northern District of California on 17th June 2015, with the court filing including the request that Shawn Bridges will enter his guilty pleas to money laundering and wire fraud on 31st August 2015 or 1st September 2015, depending on the availability of the court. As part of the-agreement, the United States government has requested that Shawn Bridges relinquishes any property that’s traceable to his illicit actions and be forced to pay “a money-judgment that’s equivalent to the total amount of property” that is involved in the violations.
Shaun W. Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Maryland was part of the Baltimore Silk Road task force that was known as SA Force — a group that had been charged with tracking down Ross Ulbricht, who used the moniker “Dread Pirate Roberts.” He was assigned to conduct forensic computer investigations as part of an effort to locate the servers of Silk Road servers for SA Force.
Shaun allegedly used information he had obtained from his interrogation of Curtis Green, a customer service representative of the Silk Road, who had administrator access, to access the systems of Silk Road, reset a few passwords and allegedly stole $820,000 worth of bitcoins. Shaun then kept the illicit funds in a Bitcoin exchange that was known as Mt. Gox. Mt. Gox infamously collapsed last year after it admitted that it had lost track of several hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoins. Shaun then allegedly wired funds into one of his own investment accounts in the U.S. a day before he sought a $2.1 million seizure warrant for Mt. Gox’s accounts.
On the team with Bridges was Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Carl Mark Force IV, 46, of Baltimore, who’s also facing criminal charges. Carl Force is charged with extorting Ross Ulbricht, as well as theft of government property, money laundering, wire fraud and conflict of interest.
The filing indicates that Carl Force completed ten wire transfers from the proceeds of his illegal actions on the Silk Road to bank accounts at PNC Bank and Quantum Fidelity. 9 of the wire transfers were for amounts that exceeded $ 99,000, according to a separate 16th June 2015 filing, with the largest amount totalling $ 225,000.
Bridges, who had joined the U.S. Secret Service in 2009, resigned from the U.S. Secret Service on March 18th 2015. He later surrendered to authorities in San Francisco and was released on bail a few days later. Shaun’s attorney, Steven Levin has said that his client accepts responsibility and he has regretted his actions from the start.