One of two former US agents accepted that he had pocketed thousands of dollars in Bitcoin during the Silk Road investigation, reports Bloomberg.
Shaun Bridges, who worked as a forensic expert for the US Secret Service, reached a plea agreement with the prosecutors over his alleged role in degrading the Baltimore task force’s investigation. He accepted that he stole around $820,000 in Bitcoins, all of which belonged to the Silk Road mastermind, Ross Ulbricht, who recently was given a lifetime in prison for operating the internet’s most notorious drug bazaar.
“Mr. Bridges has regretted his actions from the very beginning,” Steve Hale Levin, a lawyer for Bridges, told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “His decision to plead guilty reflects his complete acceptance of responsibility and is another step towards rehabilitation.”
Bridges will be tried on charges related to money laundering and obstruction of justice, and will be expecting to receive a minimum of 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to submit his plea on August 31st this year.
While Bridges might be at peace with himself, Carl Force, another accused in obstructing justice during the Silk Road probe, is still pleading innocence. The US Drug Enforcement Agent had allegedly wired about $235,000 to an offshore account, the money which is presumed to be extorted from Ross Ulbricht as a part of a negotiation. Force is also facing charges of conducting illegal background checks for a digital currency company.
Bitcoin Community’s Reaction
Ross Ulbricht’s conviction came as a shock for the entire Bitcoin community. The young entrepreneur, as everyone believed, was nothing but a scapegoat in a drug case which might have rooted to even more powerful people inside and outside the law. The corruption charges on the two US said agents further proved that the investigation could have been cooked up heavily.
And now with one of them actually pleading guilty, the latest reaction is nothing short of boiled.
Many believe that the US court will grant Bridges a far less severe conviction than what has been given to Ross Ulbricht, an experimental economist, who took fall only for earning commissions out of a free trade market that happens to be trading drugs, alongside dozen other non-serious products.
All we have to do now is wait and see how the constitution compares an online experiment with a self-motivated corruption. Its all about technicalities, after all.