Former federal agents Shaun W. Bridges and Carl M. Force got charged with fraud, money laundering and a few more related offenses after it was discovered that they stole bitcoins when investigating events at the underground black market called Silk Road.
At the time of the Silk Road event, the 46-year-old cop Force was donning the hat of a DEA Special Agent, while the 32-year-old Bridges was operating as a Special Agent of the Secret Service.
They were part of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force that was assigned the job of investigating illegal activities taking place at Silk Road.
According to reports, Carl Force was accused of conflict of interest, stealing government property, money laundering, and engaging in fraud.
Shaun Bridges, on the other hand, was accused of wire fraud and money laundering.
When investigating the case, Force extorted a whopping amount of 1,200 bitcoins from the founder of Silk Road.
With the aim of converting the bitcoins into cash, he opened an account at Bitstamp, a bitcoin exchange based in Slovenia.
This move seems to be the reason why the intelligence agency succeeded in catching Force.
To open the account with the bitcoin exchange, Force had to produce his driver’s license, address proof, and Social Security card.
All these items were linked to the name Eladio Guzman Fuentes, which happens to be Force’s undercover name. Force used this name when operating as a DEA special agent.
These documents were passed to George Frost, the general counsel of Bitstamp. Frost took little time to find out that each document submitted by the cop was forged.
When Frost questioned Force about his documents, he was quick to show his badge, his original ID, and a water bill (to prove himself a resident of Baltimore).
This forced Frost to allow the cop to open his account with the exchange. However, still, Frost was not at all comfortable with the entire event.
Frost had to contact FinCEN when he found that Force transferred two big sums to his personal bank account within a month of opening the account with Bitstamp.
The officer Frost spoke to was Shaun Bridges. Bridges assured Frost that the case would be managed by Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section.
However, no step was taken against Force, and he kept transferring bitcoins to his personal account. Within a couple of months, he cleared all his mortgage payments.
Within just six months of the arrest of the Silk Road founder, Force withdrew another big amount from Bitstamp.
The employees of the exchange noticed that Force’s IP address was linked to Tor. Force was asked to submit and explanation, in which he said that he opted for Tor for privacy.
However, when Frost found that Force again withdrew a massive sum of $200,000 BTC from his account, he decided to freeze the cop’s account.
Carl Force tried to get rid of the problem and use all his connections for that, but eventually, he was caught by the intelligence agency.
Shaun Bridges was convicted for stealing bitcoins worth $820,000 and got sentenced to almost six years in prison.
As mentioned above, the first FinCEN agent Frost spoke to when complaining about Force was Bridges.
Later, it was found that Silk Road founder sent a payment to another account besides that of Force using the smart BTC block explorer Wallet Explorer.
This time, the amount was a bit less but still big enough to be called a fortune; the amount sent to the second account was 525 BTC.
This discovery made it clear that another person was involved in the entire process.
The matter was investigated further, and the person who was suspected most strongly was Bridges.
The investigators started wondering whether Bridges is the owner of the Number13 account.
The cops also noted that the amount transferred to the Number13 account by the owner of Silk Road was again sent to a bitcoin exchange called Mt. Gox.
When all these were happening around him, Bridges decided to quit his position at the Secret Service.
This made it clear that Bridges is the other person involved in the incident.
Surprisingly, when the agent was offered a proffer session, he looked absolutely unrepentant.
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