UPDATE (20th October 03:05 BST): This piece has been updated with additional information about the case and a correction to a quote attributed to Judge Richard Seeborg.
The sentence is less than the 87-month sentence the US government had requested for the former Drug Enforcement Agency agent.
Force was part of a Baltimore, Maryland-based federal task force investigating the online dark market Silk Road. As part of the task force he worked undercover on the Silk Road under the alias “Nob”, developing a relationship with Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht.
Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison in May, though the details of Force’s crimes were kept under wraps until after the sentence had been handed down.
Force was indicted earlier this year with extortion, obstruction of justice and money laundering, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin during the investigation and, at one point, selling information about the US government’s investigation. He pled guilty in July.
The defense, according to recent court documents, had sought leniency for Force, citing the work environment and personal mental health problems experienced during the period in which he committed the crimes. The defense asked for a four-year sentence during today’s hearing, according to Ars Techina.
US District Judge Richard Seeborg said that Force’s “betrayal of public trust is quite simply breathtaking”, Ars reported.
“It is compounded by the fact that it appears to have been motivated by greed and thrill seeking, including the pursuit of a book and movie deal,” he continued.
According to Motherboard‘s Sarah Jeong, Seeborg remarked that Force “was the master of his fate in this whole disgraceful episode”.
Notably, Force has been ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to former Silk Road employee Curtis Green, as well as $337,000 to a party identified as “RP”.
Another federal official, former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, was charged with money laundering and obstruction of justice, and later plead guilty to stealing more than $800,000 in bitcoin. Bridges’ sentencing hearing is set for December.
Prison image via Shutterstock.
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