Ex-Secret Service Man Admits Laundering More Stolen Bitcoin
A disgraced former Secret Service sent to jail for stealing Bitcoin during an investigation into the Silk Road darknet marketplace has pleaded guilty to laundering even more of the digital currency.
Shaun Bridges, 35, of Laurel, Maryland, was sent to jail in December 2015 for six years after hijacking the Silk Road account of a site administrator to steal around $820,000 worth of crypto-currency.
However, before starting that sentence, he was arrested again on new charges relating to the alleged theft of 1606 Bitcoin; valued at the time at $359,000 but now worth a staggering $6.6m.
He has admitted using a private key to access a digital wallet belonging to the US government and transferring the currency to other wallets at other Bitcoin exchanges to which only he had access, according to the Department of Justice.
As part of his investigation into the Silk Road, Bridges is said to have worked with the US attorney’s office in Baltimore to obtain a seizure warrant for Bitcoin held in the Bitstamp digital exchange.
As part of the warrant, the 1606 Bitcoins were sent to a BTC-e digital wallet to which only Bridges had the private key.
BTC-e is a notorious exchange which police believe has been used by cyber-criminals to receive the proceeds of ransomware, dark net drug sales and more.
Its alleged operator, Alexander Vinnik, 37, is accused of laundering $4bn through the exchange and was indicted on 21 counts after being arrested in Greece in July.
Among the Bitstamp accounts seized by Bridges were those of DEA special agent Carl Force, working undercover to crack the Silk Road and its kingpin Ross Ulbricht, aka ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’.
Force was sentenced to six-and-a-half years behind bars for himself stealing Bitcoins from targets of the investigation, after trying to disguise his actions by inventing various online pseudonyms.
Bridges has pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering, with sentencing set for November 7.
A SANS Institute report earlier this month revealed that malicious insiders (40%) are more dangerous than accidental or negligent staff (36%).
Source: Information Security Magazine