08:17 GMT31 May 2020
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    A US Secret Service agent who stole bitcoins during an investigation into the online black market website Silk Road is now suspected of stealing money in two additional cases.

    After pleading guilty to the Silk Road theft in December 2015, former agent Shaun Bridges was sentenced to 71 months in prison for stealing $800,000 in bitcoins while investigating the online drug bazaar.

    “The number of cases that Mr. Bridges contaminated—as well as investigations across the country that his conduct led to have to be shut down—is startling," assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Haun said in court during his sentencing. “There was another investigation into [website] Mt. Gox that had to be shut down. I can tell you that Mr. Bridges learned there was a criminal investigation afoot with Mt. Gox, and what did he do? He turned around to the [asst US attorney] and did a civil seizure warrant to [Mt. Gox founder Mark] Karpeles. But two days before he did that, he made sure to get all of his money out. Bridges didn't want a criminal case to proceed because if the government got the records, they would have seen his name."

    On Thursday, an affidavit was unsealed revealing that Bridges is suspected of stealing cryptocurrency from a Secret Service account on two occasions. The larger bitcoin theft was valued at approximately $700,000. 

    In April 2015, the Justice Department learned that Bridges kept a private encryption key to access the funds, and they urged the Secret Service to move the bitcoin to a different online ‘wallet’ as a means of protecting it.

    “Unfortunately, the US Secret Service did not do so and the funds were thereafter stolen, something the US Secret Service only discovered once it was ordered by a court to pay a portion of the seizure back to affected claimants,” prosecutors wrote in an accompanying motion.

    The missing bitcoins were found by the agency, but not until July. It would be another five months before the US Secret Service would notice, however, and only after they were ordered to return a portion of the cryptocurrency to claimants in December 2015.

    The US Secret Service and Bridges’ attorney, Steven Levin, have not commented on the new allegations.

    In February, the day before Bridges was set to begin his prison sentence, he was again arrested at his home in Laurel, Maryland. During his arrest, officers found luggage containing his passport, a notarized copy of his passport, as well as the records for three offshore accounts. The disgraced agent also had Secret Service-issued bulletproof vests, believed to have been stolen from his former job.


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    Theft, Bitcoin, Tor, Silk Road, Secret Service, Shaun Bridges, Maryland
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