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  • The government officials allegedly stole thousands of bitcoins while investigating the online black market, Silk Road.

    The government officials allegedly stole thousands of bitcoins while investigating the online black market, Silk Road. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 June 2015

Two U.S. agents have been found guilty of stealing hundreds of thousands worth of bitcoins during Silk Road investigations.

Carl Mark Force IV, a former agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, has struck a plea deal with prosecutors this week over the charge of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoins during the government's Silk Road investigations.  

Force will now face a hearing July 1, where he will plead guilty to charges of money laundering, extortion and obstruction of justice. However, it has not been revealed what sentence the former-DEA agent exchanged for the pleas.

This is the second former DEA official to plead guilty of stealing bitcoins during investigations into Silk Road – the online black market best known for selling illegal drugs. Last week former-U.S. secret service agent Shaun Bridges also accepted a plea deal for similar charges, and resigned from his position at the beginning of the investigation. 

Force has been accused of opening unauthorized undercover identities, selling information about the investigation to those who may be implicated with the website, and freezing the bitcoin accounts of Silk Road customers and then transferring the money to his personal account. He has also been accused of committing questionable acts against other bitcoin users and companies unrelated to the Silk Road investigations.     

According to prosecutors, Force stole nearly US$1 million worth of bitcoins in these dirty dealings. 

Bridges was accused of similar crimes, mainly using administrative credentials to block dealers on Silk Road from using their accounts and reverting the money to his personal account, in which he reportedly earned at least US$820,000 worth of bitcoins. 

Both Bridge and Force were part of a Baltimore team of special investigators, however they appear to have acted separately in their own scams, reported Sputnik. 

Silk Road operated for over two years, but was shut down by U.S. officials in June 2013. The site's creator Ross Ulbricht – otherwise known as 'Dread Pirate Roberts' – was sentenced to life in prison in May, even though prosecutors only asked for the minimum sentence of 20 years.




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