One of the two federal agents who were accused of stealing bitcoin from the Silk Road website while on an assignment to investigate the marketplace has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. On Wednesday, Bridges agreed to plead guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent, had been assigned to a Baltimore task force to use his computer forensics expertise for the purpose of investigating illegal activity on the Silk Road marketplace. During the investigation, Bridges was reportedly given access to a Silk Road account belonging to Curtis Clark Green, a Silk Road employee who became a government witness.
Bridges then allegedly used Green’s account to steal at least $820,000 in bitcoin during the task force’s investigation. The stolen bitcoins were reportedly moved to the bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox before eventually being transferred to a bank account owned by Bridges. A short time after the alleged theft, Bridges “served as the affiant on a multi-million dollar seizure warrant for Mt. Gox and its owner’s bank accounts.”
Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force, the other agent on the task force charged with bitcoin theft, allegedly went further than Bridges in stealing bitcoins. Force reportedly created fake online profiles on Silk Road for the purpose of extorting Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road’s mastermind which a jury ultimately determined to be Ross Ulbricht.
When DPR found that Green’s account was behind the massive bitcoin theft, he allegedly contacted a Silk Road user named “Nob,” who was later reported to actually be Force using a false name. It has been reported that DPR wanted “Nob” to kill Green. “Nob” agreed to kill Green, and both Force and Bridges faked Green’s death, with Bridges creating fake photos as proof for DPR of the hit on Green.
Ulbricht still faces a murder-for-hire charge in Maryland for this incident.
“Mr. Bridges has regretted his actions from the very beginning,” said Steve Hale Levin, a lawyer for Bridges. “His decision to plead guilty reflects his complete acceptance of responsibility and is another step towards rehabilitation.”
Bridges will submit his plea on August 31st.
To read more coverage of the Silk Road case, click here.