US Agent Jailed for Six Years After Silk Road Heist

A former US Secret Service special agent has been sent down for six years for pocketing over $800,000 in bitcoins while investigating the notorious online drugs marketplace the Silk Road.

Shaun Bridges was said to have hijacked the Silk Road account of a site administrator to steal around $820,000 worth of the digital currency.

The sentence was particularly harsh because that site administrator was government informant Curtis Green, who received over 30 death threats when Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbricht suspected he was the thief, Bloomberg reported.

US District Judge Richard Seeborg described Bridges’ actions as an “an extraordinary betrayal of public trust that could have gotten a person killed.”

However, his lawyer, Steven Levin, argued that Green’s life was put in danger not by Bridges but because Ullbricht found out from another agent that he was a government informant.

Bridges has in the past been trusted with guarding the safety of president Obama’s family. His actions not only compromised the government’s investigation of Silk Road but other cases in which he was used as an authority on crypto currency, assistant US attorney, Katherine Haun, apparently claimed.

Ullbricht was sentenced to life back in May on drugs charges, with testimony revealing the site handled $214m in illegal transactions paid in bitcoins.

Another federal agent, Carl Force, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years back in May after pleading guilty to stealing bitcoins.

DEA agent Force had been tasked with establishing lines of communication with Ullbricht but instead created multiple new online personas and used them to receive bitcoins from targets of the investigation.

He then transferred these to a personal account, failing to report receipt of the currency.

Although the Silk Road is long gone now, it has been superseded by a string of copycat sites. These included the Silk Road 2, Silk Road 3 and Evolution.

The latter disappeared suddenly from the darknet amid rumors that the administrators had run off with all their clients’ money in a classic “exit scam.”

Photo © Alexander Kirch

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