US Silk Road Agent Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

A US secret service agent who stole $820,000 worth of bitcoin pled guilty yesterday to money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:01 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:51 a.m. UTC

A US secret service agent who stole $820,000 worth of bitcoin pled guilty yesterday to money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Shaun W Bridges was part of an investigation into Silk Road, an black marketplace hosted on the deep web, which allowed people to sell illegal drugs in return for bitcoin.

In his plea agreement, Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Maryland, admitted to moving 20,000 BTC (worth around $350,000 at the time) from Silk Road accounts to a wallet he controlled.

He did this in January 2013 by using an administrator account to reset passwords and pins of a number of accounts on the site.

Shortly after Bridges stole the bitcoins, he moved them to an account he had with the now-bankrupt Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

Between March and May 2013, he changed the bitcoins into dollars, totalling $820,000, transferring the funds to a personal investment account with Fidelity.

In June 2014, Bridges transferred money to a personal bank account he shared with another person.  

“Mr Bridges has now admitted that he brazenly stole $820,000 worth of digital currency while working as a US Secret Service special agent, a move that completely violated the public’s trust,” said US Attorney Melinda Haag.  

Richard Weber, chief of IRS-Criminal Investigation described the case as an “excellent example of the financial expertise of our special agents”.

He added:

“Through the analysis of both the blockchain and data from the Silk Road servers, we were able to trace the flow of funds, which eventually led to the defendant.”

Bridges is set to be sentenced on 7th December and the maximum penalty for each count is 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

To learn more about Silk Road, view our interactive timeline.

Handcuffs and gavel image via Shutterstock

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