The lead undercover DEA agent in the investigation of Silk Road has been sentenced to six years in prison for stashing away hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal bitcoin payments, reports the Los Angeles Times.
To recap: Agent Carl M. Force established communication with Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road, as part of a Drug Enforcement Agency investigation into the anonymous Dark Web drug marketplace:
As “French Maid,” and a second pseudonym, “Nob,” which was known to the DEA, Force persuaded Ulbricht to pay him in bitcoins for information about a fictional corrupt government employee. But instead of revealing these payments to the DEA to help build a case, Force converted the bitcoins to cash and then secretly deposited the proceeds in personal bank accounts.
Ulbricht must have been all of the following: rolling in cash; breathtakingly corrupt; and just wonderfully fucking inept in the field of hiring out criminal conspirators. You will recall, this is the same guy who pissed away hundreds of thousands of dollars on so-called “hitmen” he met via Silk Road in paid (and failed, and hoaxed) assassination plots. Guy was all about firing off bitcoins to anonymous strangers for nefarious purposes. The trusting type.
Force, for his part, had gotten a taste of that sweet, sweet flow of untraceable currency and wasn’t about to go back to the square life:
Force later illegally used his role in a bitcoin currency exchange company to seize a client’s account and steal the bitcoins. When federal investigators began closing in on Force, he lied and obstructed their investigation into him and Ulbricht, prosecutors said.
Force was charged back in March with an array of felony charges, including money laundering and wire fraud. The criminal complaint details how he used “a series of complex transactions” to launder and conceal “ill-gotten proceeds,” including a $235,000 transaction routed through a bank in Panama. As “de facto Chief Compliance Officer” for CoinMKT, Force stole and routed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins into his personal accounts.
He was sentenced to more than six years in prison and ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution. Force made it to sentencing just before Former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges, who was convicted of stealing 20,000 bitcoins and liquidating them into $820,000 through a Japanese currency exchange, also during the Silk Road investigation. The Los Angeles Times reports Bridges is scheduled for sentencing in December.