Silk Road case, former US Secret Service agent found guilty

Shaun Bridges, a former US Secret Service agent, has pleaded guilty for stealing $820,000 (£521,000) of bitcoins during the investigation of the Silk Road website.

He was part of the federal task force, which helped in the investigation and shut down of  the Silk Road,  an underground marketplace for drugs.

He was not only pleaded guilty for stealing bitcoins  but also for money laundering and obstruction in justice, during a court hearing on Monday in San Francisco. He will be sentenced in December.

The theft was carried out while the investigation was going on. Bridges used an administrator account of the Silk Road to reset the password and move 20,000 bitcoins to his account. He tried to hide his theft via a series of complex financial manoeuvres.

In May, Ross Ulbricht founder of the Silk Road was sentenced to life in prison for running the site.

He is not the only agent who was pleaded guilty of stealing digital cash in this case.  Bridges is the second agent involved in the case caught stealing digital cash. In early July, former US Drug Enforcement Agency agent Carl Force pleaded guilty to three charges in connection with more than $700,000 in bitcoins he had stolen from Silk Road users.

“There is a bright line between enforcing the law and breaking it,” said US assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a statement. “Law enforcement officers who cross that line not only harm their immediate victim but also betray the public trust.”

The Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 when raids by the FBI and other federal agents led to the arrest of its founder.

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