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Federal Agent Steals Virtual Currency and Receives Real World Prison Sentence

By Michael A. Villa, Jr. on October 28, 2015

On October 19, 2015, a former Drug Enforcement Agent, Carl Force, was sentenced to 78 months in prison for stealing bitcoin related to the federal criminal investigation of Silk Road, a website where illegal goods were sold and the only accepted form of payment was bitcoin.

Force was assigned to the task force investigating Silk Road and used his position as an agent to steal and extort bitcoin from targets of the investigation.  Force obtained more than $500,000 worth of bitcoin from his illegal activities.  Force pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice and extortion under color of official right.

In a related case, former U.S. Secret Service Agent, Shaun Bridges, was charged with money laundering and obstruction of justice involving additional stolen bitcoin from the Silk Road investigation.  Bridges is currently scheduled for sentencing on December 7, 2015.

Case filings for both matters can be located at U.S. v. Bridges, N.D. Cal., 3:15-cr-00319.