It seems like the Silk Road investigation is far from being officially close, considering the fact that today, a former U.S. Secret Service agent was sentenced to around six years in prison.
According to recent reports, Shaun W. Bridges, who also pleaded guilty to a couple of felony charges relating to money laundering and obstruction of justice, was also sentenced in another court to three years of supervised release, following the completion of his prison term. Together with this, it seems like Bridges agreed to pay a total of $1.1 million for stealing a couple of thousand bitcoin during the Silk Road investigation.
The story of how he managed to steal the funds and obstruct justice is quite interesting. Initially, Bridges was part of the electronic crimes task force of the Secret Service, and had been assigned to assist in the investigation of Silk Road, the now shuttered bitcoin-based online drug store. At that moment in time, he illegally accessed the bitcoin and used his influence to siphon bitcoin into an account that he controlled over at Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange which has also closed down because of a scandal.
Once he got his hands on the bitcoin, Bridges reportedly sold the bitcoin for roughly $820,000 and deposited the money into a personal investment account. Luckily, after his acts were discovered by the agency, he decided to collaborate with law enforcement, and even repaid around $500,000 of the total funds, as lawyers argued. It’s worth pointing out that when they were stolen, the bitcoin were worth around $350,000. However, as time passed, the volatility of the digital currency encouraged it to increase in value, thus forcing Mr Bridges to pay up even more.
However, prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence recommended for the felonies in question, which is of 71 months.
His lawyer, Steve Hale Levin declared that “Rather than report the theft, he made the impulsive decision to steal bitcoins from a Silk Road account. Mr. Bridges knew from the moment that he stole the bitcoin that his career was over.”
Following the sentencing, Mr Bridges is now required to report to prison starting January 29.
Right now, there are still a couple of allegations pointed towards other FBI and Secret Service agents, but also towards other people directly involved with the Silk Road marketplace. For those who are not yet aware, Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind it, was sentenced to life in prison, following a lengthy trial.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you personally think about the sentence given to Bridges? Do you think that it is long enough for his acts of corruption? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.