Former Silk Road Agent Sentenced To 78 Months

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Five Virtual Coins Bitcoins On Printed Circuit Board. 3D Illustration.
As Nob, he siphoned bitcoin from Ulbricht for things such as inside information and false IDs that were to be turned over to the government but wound up instead in his personal accounts.

October 19, 2015: Carl Mark Force IV, a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent involved in the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force (BSRTF) is sentenced to 78 months in prison for his masterminding of the extortion and theft of over $400,000 worth of bitcoin for personal financial gains.

Force worked both sides of the investigation from within the center of the agency tasked with bringing down the most notorious and dangerous drug market in the world.

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When he was recruited to the BSRTF Carl Force was a career DEA agent, where he served 15 years in the agency at various locations throughout the US.

At the time of his undoing, Force wasn’t struggling either: his yearly salary was around $150,000. What possessed him to commit fraud and theft on such a massive scale is anyone’s guess.

Force, alongside Shaun W. Bridges, a Secret Service agent, were named in a filing in the Northern District of California on March 30, 2015 when Tigran Gambaryan, a Special Agent with the IRS, lodged an affidavit against both accusing both Force of theft of government property, wire fraud, money laundering and conflict of interest, and Bridges of money laundering and wire fraud.

Force only resigned from his position a mere few days before the filing was made, after finding out that he was indeed under investigation.

Both Force and Bridges served on the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force throughout 2012 and 2013 – the government body paramount in orchestrating the fall of Ross Ulbricht (aka “Dread Pirate Roberts” or DPR), the man behind the infamous Silk Road marketplace, and ultimately, the fall of Silk Road itself.

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Force was the leading undercover agent on the team while Bridges the expert computer forensic scientist.

Force was the leading undercover agent on the team while Bridges the expert computer forensic scientist.

While conducting his job on the team, Force operated under the sanctioned guise of “Nob” on the Silk Road darknet marketplace in communications with Ulbricht. As Nob, he siphoned bitcoin from Ulbricht for things such as inside information and false IDs that were to be turned over to the government but wound up instead in his personal accounts.

As Nob, he siphoned bitcoin from Ulbricht for things such as inside information and false IDs that were to be turned over to the government but wound up instead in his personal accounts.

Whilst under the guide of an unsanctioned online persona, “French Maid,” Force exchanged information regarding the investigation to Ulbricht for the fee of $100,000 worth of bitcoin.

The conflict of interest charge arose from a principal investment and involvement as a Chief Compliance Officer with CoinMKT, a digital currency market on the darknet, which was not disclosed to his employer. Through CoinMKT, he illegally froze a customer’s funds and then transferred them to a personal account.

Through CoinMKT, he illegally froze a customer’s funds and then transferred them to a personal account.

Bridges, on the other hand, transferred $820,000 worth of Bitcoin funds from Mt. Gox digital currency exchange following the theft of bitcoins from the Silk Road marketplace that had significant links back to himself.

The case against the two was split after determining that they were significantly removed from each other in terms of the events that occurred.

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Court Room
October 19, 2015: Carl Mark Force IV, a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent involved in the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force (BSRTF) is sentenced to 78 months in prison

Force plead guilty in July to the charges against him – money laundering, obstruction of justice and extortion, admitting to acting with the intent to defraud, theft, embezzlement, and corruption.The maximum charges on each account were 20 years jail time and $250,000 or twice the gross gain of what he obtained.

The maximum charges on each account were 20 years jail time and $250,000 or twice the gross gain of what he obtained.

The maximum charges on each account were 20 years jail time and $250,000 or twice the gross gain of what he obtained.

Even more surprisingly, during his confession, Force admitted into entering a deal with Twentieth Century Fox for a movie contract about the Silk Road investigation without the knowledge of his superiors.

While Ulbricht was sentenced on May 2015, to two life sentences for his role behind Silk Road, on October 19, 2015, Carl Force was sentenced to 6.5 years behind bars for his crimes, 9 months less than prosecutors requested.

This may have taken into account mental health issues his defense brought up during the proceedings.

Despite the huge amount of work that both corrupt Force and Bridges put in to taking down Silk Road, at the time when Ulbricht was sentenced the documents and criminal charges against both men were sealed and the jury was not informed of their criminal activities.

When the bad guys are crooked and get locked up for life and the “good” guys are crooked and get locked up for six and a half years, we have to wonder what the differences really are.

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Although Force has now lost his job, his marriage, and his freedom, at least for the next few years, Bridges is still yet to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty in August to his charges and is currently out on bail, due for sentencing on December 7, 2015.

He pleaded guilty in August to his charges and is currently out on bail, due for sentencing on December 7, 2015.

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