Two former federal agents were charged Monday with stealing Bitcoin and laundering money while working at the center of last year’s massive investigation into the now-defunct Silk Road.
Justice Department officials announced the charges against former DEA officer Carl Mark Force and former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges. The two men allegedly used Bitcoin to launder money while they were in the middle of investigating the infamous online black market, which was shut down by the government last year.
At the time, the government seized about $33 million worth of Bitcoin from the marketplace and charged its founder, Ross Ulbricht – or “Dread Pirate Roberts,” as he’s known on the web – with aiding drug trafficking. He was ultimately found guilty and awaits sentencing.
Carl Force was the main investigator tasked with communicating with Ulbricht. He allegedly used his position during the investigation to extort money from Ulbricht by using a number of Internet aliases.
In one instance, Force apparently demanded $250,000 from Ulbricht in exchange for withholding information from his colleagues at the DOJ.
The government charged him with wiring fraud, stealing government property and money laundering.
Separately, Bridges, the Secret Service agent, worked with Force and allegedly diverted more than $800,000 in Bitcoin to a personal account during the investigation. The complaint accuses the two former agents of texting back and forth about the fluctuating value of Bitcoin.
The two reportedly resigned from their positions abruptly before being arrested last week.
The charges against the agents come at an embarrassing time for both of their former agencies. Just last week a report from the DOJ’s inspector general accused agents at the Drug Enforcement Agency of having “sex parties” with prostitutes bought and paid for by drug cartels in Columbia.
The Secret Service has suffered a problem-plagued year with numerous security breaches as well as a prostitution scandal in 2010.
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