A former Secret Service agent was sentenced to 71 months in prison on Monday for stealing more than $820,000 worth of bitcoin while investigating the Silk Road online marketplace, the FBI announced.
Shaun W. Bridges, 33, of Laurel, Maryland, was one of the two corrupt federal agents involved in the investigation of the underground black market, which was shut down in 2013.
Bridges’ sentence follows his guilty plea on October 31, 2015, to one count of money laundering and one count of obstructing justice.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California also ordered Bridges to forfeit $651,000.
“Between 2012 and 2014, Bridges was assigned to the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, a multi-agency group investigating illegal activity on the Silk Road, a covert online marketplace for illicit goods, primarily drugs,” read the press release by the FBI’s San Francisco Division.
According to the FBI’s press release, Bridges’ responsibilities included conducting forensic computer investigations in an effort to locate, identify and prosecute targets, including Ross Ulbricht – aka Dread Pirate Roberts – who operated the Silk Road.
As part of his guilty plea, the FBI stated Bridges admitted to using account information that he obtained during the January 2013 search and arrest of Curtis Green, a customer support representative on Silk Road, to reset passwords and pins of various accounts and move approximately 20,000 bitcoin into a “wallet” that Bridges controlled.
At the time, the bitcoin amounted to about $350,000.
“Bridges admitted that he moved the stolen bitcoin into an account at Mt. Gox – an online digital currency exchange based in Japan – and that between March and May 2015, he liquidated the bitcoin into $820,000 in U.S. currency,” the press release said.
Subsequently, Bridges had the funds transferred to a personal investment account in the U.S., and in June 2014, the money was transferred again to a personal bank account that he shared with another person.
Furthermore, Bridges also admitted to using Green’s Silk Road access to steal bitcoin from the site, as well as making multiple false and misleading statements to prosecutors and investigators in connection with the San Francisco grand jury investigation into his case.
Bridges is the second of the two federal agents to be sentenced. Carl M. Force, 46, of Baltimore, a former DEA agent, was sentenced to 78 months and was ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution to victims of the theft.