السبت , يونيو 6 2020

Silk Road agents charged with theft

Courtroom sketch of Ross Ulbricht

Ross Ulbricht is alleged to have made millions from running the Silk Road

Two former US special agents have been charged with stealing large amounts of digital currency, which came into their possession during an investigation into the notorious Silk Road marketplace.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that Shaun Bridges stole more than $800,000 (£540,000) in Bitcoin.

His colleague, Carl Force, has also been charged with money laundering.

Best known for selling illegal drugs, Silk Road was closed in 2013 following raids by the FBI and other agencies.

The man accused of running the site, Ross Ulbricht, was convicted in February, and prosecutors argued that he had earned about $18m in Bitcoin from the operation.

‘Fake online personas’

Mr Force, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), served as an undercover agent during the investigation into the Silk Road.

His task was to communicate with Ulbricht, known online as “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

The DoJ alleges that “without authority”, Mr Force “developed additional online personas and engaged in a broad range of illegal activities calculated to bring him personal financial gain”.

“In doing so, the complaint alleges, Force used fake online personas, and engaged in complex Bitcoin transactions to steal from the government and the targets of the investigation.”

The 46-year-old is charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest.

Shaun Bridges, who worked for US Secret Service, is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

Both men are appearing in a San Francisco court on Monday.

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