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For computer crime expert and ex-Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges, the long arm of the law is about to extend itself from the opposite direction to what he had become accustomed during his career, concluding a case brought against two officers in April this year.
Formerly a member of the Secret Service task force which investigated anonymous online marketplace Silk Road’s illicit activities which included the facilitation of narcotics sale and money laundering, resulting in the seizure of the website by the US government, and the conviction and incarceration of founder Ross Ulbricht, Mr. Bridges is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin, and routing the money to his own accounts according to federal court documents.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California, Mr. Bridges’ involvement in the conviction of Mr. Ulbricht for narcotics trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking extends much further.
NBC News reported that by using information he got from his interrogation of a Silk Road customer service representative who had administrator access, investigators had concluded that Mr. Bridges accessed Silk Road’s systems in January 2013, reset several passwords and transferred about 20,000 bitcoin from the accounts, according to the complaint. He then converted the bitcoin into cash through a Japan-based bitcoin exchange and from there sent the money to the shell company’s investment accounts.
According to court documents that were filed last week, Mr. Bridges agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, and is due to be sentenced on August 31. In order to clarify the gravity of this plea, it is important to note that a conviction for wire fraud in the United States is a very serious matter indeed and can result in several decades in jail.
Last month, Mr. Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes whilst operating Silk Road.
In addition to Mr. Bridges, a second investigator, Carl Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s lead undercover agent in the Silk Road case, faces a hearing in August for allegedly stealing Bitcoin from Silk Road and for allegedly blackmailing Mr. Ulbricht while at the same time selling him information about the investigation.