Shaun W. Bridges, a computer crime expert who was part of the Secret Service task force that conducted investigations on Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, pled guilty to charges of bitcoin theft. According to federal court documents, he skimmed hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin and routed the money to his own accounts.
As it turns out, upon the shutdown of Silk Road back in 2013, Bridges went into hiding. Meanwhile, Ulbricht was later on sentenced to life imprisonment for narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, running a criminal enterprise and money laundering.
Silk Road’s Bitcoin Systems
During the course of his investigation, Bridges obtained access to Silk Road’s bitcoin transaction systems during an interrogation of a Silk Road representative. He used the administrator access to change several passwords and transferred around 20,000 bitcoin from those accounts. Investigators also said that Bridges then converted the bitcoin into cash through a Japan-based bitcoin exchange.
At the time these transfers were made, the total value of those stolen bitcoin was at $820,000. n court documents filed last week, Bridges agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering and is scheduled for sentencing in August.
“Mr. Bridges has regretted his actions from the very beginning,” Bridges’ lawyer said. “His decision to plead guilty reflects his complete acceptance of responsibility and is another step towards rehabilitation.”
Apart from Bridges, another investigator in the Silk Road case also faces a hearing for allegedly stealing bitcoin as well. He reportedly blackmailed Ulbricht while also letting the Silk Road founder in on what’s currently happening with federal investigations.
This puts another dent on bitcoin’s reputation, as the cryptocurrency has repeatedly struggled to shake off negative vibes relating to its use in the criminal underworld. This has made it difficult for bitcoin to gain traction and regulatory approval in some nations, even earning the ire of a few governments.