Ex-Secret Service agent admits laundering $820,000 in bitcoin
Shaun Bridges used exchanges like Mt. Gox to steal from Silk Road drug dealers
Former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has pled guilty to laundering more than $800,000 in bitcoin during the investigation of online black market Silk Road.
Bridges was arrested earlier this year, along with DEA special agent Carl Force, who was accused of extorting bitcoin payments from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht over the course of the investigation.
After the arrest of Silk Road admin Curtis Green, Bridges used his security credentials to rob some of the site's numerous drug dealers.
Bridges stole around 20,000 bitcoins initially worth around $350,000 before moving them to a bitcoin wallet' under his control.
The cryptocurrency was then shuffled around via various exchanges and holding companies, including the infamous Mt. Gox, until the sum had increased in value to $820,000.
He was discovered partly through bitcoin's built-in record keeping, said Chief Richard Weber of the IRS Criminal Investigation department."Through the analysis of both the block chain and data from the Silk Road servers, we were able to trace the flow of funds," he stated, "which eventually led to the defendant."
"This case is an excellent example of the financial expertise of our special agents," he claimed.
Bridges also pled guilty to the obstruction of investigations into both Silk Road itself and his own illegal activities.The sentencing for Bridges' crimes will take place in December.
It is currently unknown what the recommend sentence of his plea agreement is, but both the money laundering and obstruction charges carry a maximum jail term of twenty years.
Sentenced earlier this year to life in prison, Silk Road's founder has filed repeated motions for a mistrial, and his attorney told Reuters that Bridges' admission "removes any question about the corruption that pervaded the investigation of Silk Road".
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