November 11, 2017 (The Ferowich Report) — A U.S. Secret Service officer will go to prison for 24 months after stealing 1,500 bitcoins from the federal government whilst working on a Silk Road task force.
Who watches the watchers? The Silk Road task force was ostensibly set up to snuff out money laundering or at least make federal authorities aware in who was using the Silk Road for nefarious purposes. As it turns out, Shaun Bridges, 35, funneled bitcoins from US government wallets to private wallets while working on the Dread Pirate Roberts case, the Justice Department said November 7.
“According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Bridges admitted to using a private key to access a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government, and subsequently transferring the bitcoin to other digital wallets at other bitcoin exchanges to which only he had access. As part of his plea, Bridges agreed to turn over the stolen bitcoin to U.S. agents,” DOJ said.
Bridges surrendered fiat currency worth $10.4 million in addition to the bitcoins.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said Bridges’ was “among the worst of crimes.”
Ross Ulbricht used the psuedonym Dread Pirate Roberts to mask his activity on the dark web and is widely credited as the founder of the Silk Road. The FBI siezed about $28.5 million from Ulbricht when he was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison.
Bridges was apparently a decorated officer during his time with the Secret Service: he served on First Lady Michelle Obama’s security detail, worked in some unspecified capacity at the National Security Agency (NSA), and former Governor of Maryland Bob Ehrlich even wrote a letter to a judge at one point seeking leniency for Bridges.
Prior to the most recent sentencing and conviction, Bridges plead guilty to one count of money laundering in August, 2017 and before that was sentenced to 71 months for money laundering and obstruction of justice in December, 2015, according to the Justice Department.
In 2013, Bridges stole at least 20,000 bitcoins from Ulbricht, and later found a cooperating witness who could teach him how to launder money with bitcoins, Vice News reported.