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.

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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Rogue Silk Road Agent Charged with another Bitcoin Theft

There has been a new development in a two-year-old Bitcoin theft case against an ex-Secret Service agent.

New documents show that additional theft had taken place—just as new developments regarding the case were starting to simmer down, everything has started to unravel yet again.

The ex-agent in question, Shaun Bridges, allegedly stole as much as $800,000 worth of Bitcoin from the Silk Road before it was shut down by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

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How it All Began

Stack of bitcoins with gold background
New documents show more money was stolen in the 2015 case in which nearly $1 million dollars in Bitcoin was stolen by federal agents.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice charged two federal agents with the crime of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin while they were investigating the Silk Road.

The Silk Road was once upon a time the most successful marketplace on the dark web.

Almost anyone with access to the site could buy anything they wanted, whether legal or illegal.

By October 2013, it was estimated that Silk Road generated around $200 million in sales.

But soon after, an investigation was launched into the Silk Road and it was promptly taken down by the FBI.

It was discovered that the marketplace was run by an individual named Ross Ulbricht, who worked under the online alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

He was later found guilty and charged with crimes that included money laundering and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

However, it was found later that two of the federal agents who were working on the case had stolen almost a million dollars’ worth of Bitcoins during the investigation.

Bridges was accused alongside a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Carl Force.

Both men were charged with both wire fraud and money laundering.

Force, who was 46 years old, and Bridges, who was in his early thirties, had belonged to the federal team tasked with taking down the Silk Road.

According to the authorities, Force had a very important role as the lead undercover agent in the investigation and therefore could get easy access to the money.

In his undercover operation, he was supposed to make contact with “The Dread Pirate Roberts” using a sanctioned online alias, but Force was also communicating with the Silk Road admin on the side.

He had set up a number of different aliases and was talking to Ross Ulbricht right under the federal government’s noses.

According to the prosecutor, Force had extorted nearly $250,000 from Ulbricht.

He also offered to sell information regarding the ongoing investigation for the price of $100,000.

Bridges, on the other hand, had stolen around $800,000 worth in Bitcoin by diverting the digital currency to his personal account.

Soon after Force was arrested, Bridges was also apprehended and plead guilty to the related charges.

New Allegations of Stealing More Money

virtual currency values
Bitcoin’s value was much lower than it is now

Recent unsealed documents revealed that Bridges may have stolen more money than what was earlier discovered.

According to the prosecutors, Bridges had stolen $700,000 in Bitcoins in July 2015 and roughly $20,000 the following months.

The new information points out that Bridges may have stolen more money a few months before he was sentenced.

Bridges was then re-arrested under suspicions regarding him trying to flee from the U.S. before his prison sentence began.

In the following court filings, it was revealed that Bridges would be investigated for actions involving additional Bitcoin theft.

The recent court filings show that Bridges had stolen 1606.6488 Bitcoins, which amounts to nearly $6.5 million today.

At the time of the theft, Bitcoin’s value was much lower than it is now.

According to the prosecutors, Bridges had deposited this money into BTC-e, which was a popular Bitcoin exchange until it was shut down by authorities.

The recent court documents show that there were at least 19 different transactions that Bridges made trying to hide his extra stolen money.

Right now as it stands, Shaun Bridges might receive up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fee of $250,000.

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Former Silk Road Agent Waived His Right to Appeal His Case

In a surprising change of events, Shaun Bridges, who was appealing his six-year sentence for his actions during the takedown of Silk Road, has decided to waive his rights to do so – hence the counsel has decided to dismiss the case.

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 <<

Silhouette of a mysterious man in a vintage style wide brimmed hat in a close up black and white head and shoulders portrait.
Shaun Bridges, who was accused of bitcoin theft during the Silk Road investigation, has chosen to waive his appeal with the judges having accepted it.

During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.

When Bridges applied for a waiver on his appeal, the panel didn’t have to think twice because it has already been part of the plea agreement submitted in 2015.

Charges include money laundering and obstruction of justice.

The hearing also allowed Davina Pujari to withdraw from her position as counsel for Bridges.

After going through the case, Bridges was awarded a 71-month sentence for his interference in the Silk Road investigation.

There is no respite from the period as the panel clarified that the defendant didn’t produce any pro se briefs or even an answer to support his appeal claim.

In their statement, they added that the person has already waived off his right to appeal.

There is no way to bring him out of conviction for his theft of Silk Road evidence, and the sentence that he is supposed to serve for the specified period.

The issue dates back to the first hearing and the appeal made by Bridges apart from the allegations that he agreed to having been involved in.

Bridges admitted during the August 2015 investigation that he made use of his position in the Silk Road task force to steal bitcoins.

According to his statement, the investigator made use of the administrative access to Silk Road and stole 20,000 bitcoins from various users who used to regularly purchase items on Silk Road.

In US currency, his Bitcoin theft was worth at least $800,000 at the time, which was diverted to his account.

When the allegations were proved with evidence, Bridges was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in December 2015.

Based on the court documents, it can also be confirmed that he had to forfeit $1.1 million and the agent, who is also the defendant, appealed after he was sentenced in the case.

Later in 2016, the public defender refused to represent Bridges because of conflict of interest, and the position was taken by Pujari to continue the appeal on behalf of the former investigator.

After Pujari took over the case, she went on to file a motion to withdraw in August.

In her appeal, she confirmed that the records have been examined, the case law and relevant statuses that the motion was based on had been verified.

The prosecutor made sure to explore all the possible ways that could deter Bridges from having his appeal getting sanctioned.

Vector of Bitcoin, hacker and its transaction.File contains Clipping mask, Transparency.
During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.

The case focused on Shaun Bridges transferring bitcoins from Silk Road in order to have a suspect in the case and to prove the illegal transactions Silk Road had been making.

A victim named Curtis Green was produced in the court, who was later termed as a ‘surprise victim’ who came out of seemingly nowhere and has been making rather drastic claims.

The judge panel opined that the legitimacy of the victim is questionable, and there is no point in trying to include their statements in the plea agreement.

Continuing with his plea agreement, Bridges argued that the surprise victim or the judgment will in no way affect his plea agreement, as it belongs to a different part of the law.

He further argued that the losses incurred during the alleged Bitcoin theft from Silk Road has been significantly increased, leading to the large sentence.

Bridges is not the first investigator to be accused of Bitcoin theft.

He is the second person, as the first complaint was filed against Carl M. Force – a special agent who worked with the U.S.

Drug Enforcement Administration. He decided to plead guilty in 2015. He was accused for the theft of $700,000 worth of Bitcoin with the help of his Baltimore team, and was sentenced to 78-months in prison.

Force and Shaun Bridges worked in the same team to take down Silk Road, a site on the dark web run by Ross Ulbricht, more commonly known by his pseudonym of Dread Pirate Roberts within the community.

The first federal prosecution took place in 2015.

Ulbricht, who was accused in the case for selling drugs and other illegal materials, was sentenced to life in person.

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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.

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

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.

bitstamp-temporary-suspension

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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