Former Secret Service Agent Sentenced in Scheme Related to Silk Road Investigation
A former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent, who had been a member of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, was sentenced to prison today on charges of money laundering, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch of the Northern District of California, Chief Don Fort of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and 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, Maryland, was sentenced to 24 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco following his earlier guilty plea to one count of money laundering. Judge Seeborg ordered that the sentence be served consecutively to the 71-month sentence that Bridges is currently serving related to his 2015 conviction for a similar theft. Bridges was also ordered to forfeit approximately 1,500 bitcoin and other fiat currency, which is currently valued at approximately $10.4 million.
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 Baltimore Task Force, including Ross Ulbricht, aka “Dread Pirate Roberts,” who ran the Silk Road from the Northern District of California.
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 from a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government. According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, 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, IRS-CI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office Cyber Crimes Unit and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General in Washington D.C. 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 handled the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.