More Prison Time for Ex-Secret Service Agent Who Stole Bitcoins

A former U.S. Secret Service agent already convicted for stealing bitcoins from the now-defunct underground marketplace Silk Road has been handed another prison sentence for the theft of digital currency from the government, the Department of Justice announced this week.

Shaun W. Bridges, 35, of Laurel, Maryland, was sentenced in December 2015 to 71 months in prison for money laundering and obstruction of justice. Bridges, who had been part of the task force investigating Silk Road, stole 20,000 bitcoins, at the time worth roughly $350,000, from Silk Road customers using information obtained following the arrest of one of the site’s customer support representatives. Bridges liquidated the bitcoins in the spring of 2015 and earned $820,000.

According to authorities, before he began serving his sentence for the 2015 conviction, Bridges stole another 1,600 bitcoins from a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government.

Court documents obtained by Ars Technica show that the former federal agent retained the private key for an account storing bitcoins seized from digital currency exchange Bitstamp. After resigning from the Secret Service, Bridges used the key to transfer roughly 1,600 of the Bitstamp bitcoins from the government’s digital wallet into his own.

Bridges pleaded guilty to money laundering charges related to this case and agreed to return the stolen bitcoins. He received a 24-month prison sentence, which will be served consecutively to the previous 71-month sentence. The defense had hoped to convince the judge to hand out a concurrent sentence.

Bridges is not the only former federal agent sentenced to prison as a result of illegal activities carried out during the investigation into Silk Road. In October 2015, a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, Carl M. Force, was sentenced to 78 months in prison after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin from Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind of Silk Road, for inside information about the government’s investigation into the underground marketplace.

Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for his role in running Silk Road. He unsuccessfully appealed the sentence and his later bid for a new trial was denied.

Related: Silk Road 2.0 Admin Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

Related: FBI Says Leaky CAPTCHA Was Used to Locate Silk Road Server, Experts Doubtful

Related: Bitcoin, Ethereum Stolen Following Bithumb Hack

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.
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