Two former federal agents who helped bring down the online black market Silk Road have been convicted of wire fraud, money laundering, and stealing Bitcoins during the federal investigations of Silk Road.
The two agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Secret Service have been identified as Carl Force, 46 years old, resident of Baltimore and associated with the DEA, and Shaun Bridges, 32 years old, resident of Laurel, Maryland who works with the U.S. Secret Service as a special agent.
The federal government took down the underground illicit market commonly known as Silk Road in 2013, and it was during that time that the two heroes-turned-rogues decided to disrespect their duty.
The Impact on Bitcoin Dread Pirate Roberts Case?
The acts of the two federal agents have severely dented the prospects of the government’s case against internet’s top cyber criminal Ross Ulbricht, who prefers to be known as “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Ulbricht is the founder of Silk Road and is awaiting sentencing for aiding drug trafficking with his site.
Force allegedly set up fake online personas and tried to blackmail Ulbricht for money – once demanding a hefty sum of $250,000 – in order to keep his identity protected from federal investigators, says the criminal complaint filed by the prosecutors.
Force succeeded in getting $100,000 in Bitcoins from Ulbricht using his online persona “French Maid.”The prosecutors allege that Force later used several Bitcoin and U.S. dollar transactions, which included a $235,000 wire transfer to an account in Panama.
Prosecutors allege that Bridges stole $820,000, using a series of wire transfers to move Bitcoins stolen from the 2013 Silk Road raid and deposited them in the Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. A couple of days later, Bridges signed the government’s warrant to seize millions of dollars in Bitcoin. But upon learning that FBI was snooping in the matter, he transferred $250,000 from his personal account to one he shared with another person.