Former Secret Service Agent Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering
A former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of money laundering, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge Kimberly A. Lappin of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington, D.C. Field Office Cyber Crimes Unit, Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Division, and Special Agent in Charge David Green of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, Houston Field Office.
Shaun W. Bridges, 35, of Laurel, Md., pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California. Sentencing has been set for November 7.
Bridges had been a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service for approximately six years in the Baltimore Field Office. Between 2012 and 2014, he was assigned to the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, a multi-agency group investigating illegal activity on the Silk Road, a covert online marketplace for illicit goods, including drugs. Bridges’ responsibilities included, among other things, conducting forensic computer investigations in an effort to locate, identify and prosecute targets of the Silk Road Task Force, including Ross Ulbricht, aka “Dread Pirate Roberts,” who ran the Silk Road from the Northern District of California. In 2015, Bridges pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of obstruction of justice related to his theft and diversion of over $800,000 in digital currency over which he gained control as part of his role on the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force. In December 2015, Bridges was sentenced to 71 months in prison on those charges.
Prior to reporting to prison to begin serving his sentence for the 2015 conviction, Bridges was arrested and taken into custody on new charges related to another theft of approximately 1,600 bitcoin, valued at the time of the theft at approximately $359,005, from a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government. According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea in this case, Bridges admitted to using a private key to access a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government, and subsequently transferring the bitcoin to other digital wallets at other bitcoin exchanges to which only he had access. As part of his plea, Bridges agreed to turn over the stolen bitcoin to U.S. agents.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s San Francisco Division, the IRS-CI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office Cyber Crimes Unit and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, Houston Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Frentzen of the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Countryman is handling the Asset Forfeiture aspects of the case.