Federal agent gets six years in prison for extorting bitcoins from Silk Road creator
A US federal agent placed on a Silk Road taskforce has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for illegally soliciting Bitcoin payments during during his investigations. Former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force received $50,000 in Bitcoin from Silk Road's creator, Ross "Dread Pirate Roberts" Ulbricht, after posing as a drug dealer and convincing Ulbricht that he had information on the investigation into the dark web marketplace. Instead of reporting the payment to the DEA, Force funneled the digital currency into his own personal accounts.
Force pled guilty to charges of extortion, money laundering, and obstruction of justice in July. Another US federal agent, Shaun Bridges, also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and money laundering in September for using a Silk Road administrator account to steal around 20,000 bitcoins from various wallets and cash them in for roughly $820,000. Bridges worked alongside Force at the same Baltimore task force, where the latter posed as a drug dealer called "Nob" in order to first extort Ulbricht in August 2013.
The ex-DEA agent tried the same trick a month later, posing as a Silk Road user called "French Maid," and offering Ulbricht more information for $98,000 in bitcoin. Force's defense asked for a shorter sentence due to mental health issues, while prosecutors had pushed for 87 months in prison. Speaking in court on Monday, the ex-agent apologized to the American people for a betrayal the presiding judge called "breathtaking."
"I'm sorry," Force said. "I lost it and I don't understand a lot of it." His fellow agent, Shaun Bridges, is due to be sentenced in December.