Former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has been sentenced to just under six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing $820,000 worth of bitcoin while he worked on the investigation into online narcotics emporium Silk Road.
Bridges, 33, had worked for the US Electronic Crimes Task Force for six years, which included his time on the assignment to tackle the infamous Silk Road marketplace between 2012 and 2014.
This case eventually led to the sentencing of Ross Ulbrict, known as Dread Pirate Roberts, to life in prison.
However, during the operation, Bridges used his position and knowledge of the case to obtain access to the website, reset passwords and illegally transfer roughly 20,000 bitcoins into a separate account managed by himself.
Bridges then moved the bitcoin into an account at Mt. Gox, a digital currency exchange based in Japan, liquidated the bitcoin into various accounts that amounted to $820,000 before funnelling the money to personal accounts in the US.
The US Department of Justice said that Bridges also obstructed the work of other law enforcement officers during the Silk Road investigation by making "multiple false and misleading statements" and "encouraged another government employee to lie to investigators" while they were looking into his actions.
In sentencing Bridges the judge said that he had clearly been in “abuse of his authority as a sworn law enforcement officer” and was well aware of the extent of his crimes.
“Bridges is someone who abused the public trust and tarnished the reputation of law enforcement in the process," the court document states.
The document also states that, despite this being his only crime in a long career, the length of the deception meant no leniency should be shown in the sentencing length.
“Bridges’ crimes do not represent a ‘one-off’ where he experienced a momentary lapse of judgment. Instead, Bridges committed crimes over the course of many months (if not years) during which he had time to reflect on what he was doing over and over again, and to come forward and admit his crimes.
“Yet instead of ceasing his misconduct after one incident, he continued with impunity until he was caught.”
Bridges is the second secret service agent to be found guilty and sent to prison for stealing bitcoins during the operation, with Carl Force receiving a 78-month sentence in October.
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