A former Secret Service agent pleaded guilty on Monday to diverting to his personal account over $800,000 worth of bitcoins during an investigation into online drug marketplace Silk Road. Shaun Bridges, 33, appeared in federal court in San Francisco and admitted to money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Silk Road operated for more than two years until it was shut down in October 2013, generating more than $214 million in sales of drugs and other illicit goods using bitcoins, prosecutors said. Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road's creator, who authorities say used the alias "Dread Pirate Roberts," was sentenced to life in prison in May after a federal jury in Manhattan found him guilty of several charges, including distributing drugs through the Internet.
Bridges belonged to a Baltimore-based federal task force that investigated Silk Road.
"Through the analysis of both the block chain and data from the Silk Road servers, we were able to trace the flow of funds, which eventually led to the defendant," Chief Richard Weber of the IRS-Criminal Investigation said in a statement.
Bridges is one of two federal agents to plead guilty in connection with illegal activity during the investigation of Silk Road. Former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force pleaded guilty in July to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
An attorney for Ulbricht has said those charges remove "any question about the corruption that pervaded the investigation of Silk Road." In court on Monday, Bridges admitted his theft made Ulbricht believe that another individual was stealing from Silk Road and helped lead Ulbricht to try to hire someone to kill that person. Sentencing for Bridges was scheduled for December.