Federal agent involved in Silk Road bitcoin theft to serve six years behind bars

The former Secret Service agent has been issued a 71-month sentence for stealing virtual currency during the Silk Road closure.


A former Secret Service agent guilty of stealing $820,000 worth of bitcoin has been given a jail term of almost six years.

On Monday, US District Judge Richard Seeborg sentenced former federal agent Shaun Bridges following his conviction on money laundering and obstruction charges in August, leading to a prison term of 71 months.

Bridges admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of the virtual currency bitcoin during an investigation into the online underground marketplace Silk Road. The online underground trading post was the place to buy drugs and other illegal goods before being closed by US law enforcement in October 2013.

Prosecutors say the website generated approximately $213.9m in sales before being shut down.

The marketplace was operated by founder 31-year-old Ross Ulbricht, who has now been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. On Friday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the arrest of Roger Thomas Clark, accused of being an important advisor of Ulbricht.

As reported by the Associated Press, Seeborg called Bridges' behavior a "shocking and reprehensible abandonment of his public duty" which represented the "betrayal of public trust by a federal law enforcement agent."

Bridges' lawyers requested a three-year prison term in consideration of the ex-Secret Service member's long career, but the judge dismissed this idea, constituting his behavior during the Silk Road investigation as being rooted in pure "greed."

Not only did the former agent steal approximately $820,000 in bitcoin but also committed the crime of pinning down the theft on a witness who was working with law enforcement during the investigation.

Once Ulbricht caught wind of the witness' apparent theft, hits were taken out on the person in question, placing their life at risk.

Bridges' wife, who invoked marital privilege to avoid testifying against her husband, has also been caught in the crossfire professionally -- having lost a job lined up in law enforcement due to her husband's actions.

According to Ars Technica, the judge has also ordered Bridges to forfeit $165,000 from Fidelity brokerage, $306,000 which is held in trust and $4,000 from a bank account.

Shaun Bridges joins ex-colleague Carl Bates, also accused of money laundering. Bates embezzled over $400,000 during the investigation through the theft of funds belonging to a Bitcoin firm's customer and persuading Ulbricht to pay him $50,000 for intelligence during the investigation.

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