According to recent Silk Road court documents unsealed on June 30, the corrupt special agent Shaun Bridges stole an extra $700,000 USD worth of Bitcoin that authorities were initially unaware of. The funds were hijacked after he was caught red-handed manipulating the case and barred from the investigation.
Also read: China to Play a ‘Leading Role’ in Bitcoin’s Future
This news comes after Bitcoin.com reported on US attorney Preet Bharara’s response to the defense appeal, which basically said that Ross Ulbricht was still guilty even though two federal agents tampered with the investigation.
Secret Service Agent Bridges Stole More Bitcoin Says The Justice Department
With a vast cache of bitcoins in wallets held by the US Marshals before they were sold, Shaun Bridges allegedly had access to a private key of one of the seized wallets.
According to a recently unsealed affidavit, in April of 2015 the Justice Department suspected Bridges of having access to a certain bitcoin wallet. The agency had recommended that authorities move the cryptocurrency as soon as possible, but in July of that same year, the funds were stolen.
Prosecutors have described the situation to the courts, stating:
“Unfortunately, the U.S. Secret Service did not do so, and the funds were thereafter stolen, something the U.S. Secret Service only discovered once it was ordered by a court to pay a portion of the seizure back to affected claimants.”
Bridges’ attorney was asked to comment on the matter to the press, but declined to make a statement.
The affidavit stated that the funds were taken in July 2015, but the agency did not realize the theft took place until December.
Bridges has already plead guilty to stealing roughly $800,000 USD worth of bitcoin, and is serving a six-year sentence for the crime.
Of course, the news is upsetting to the Ulbricht family that more corruption is being revealed while at the same time prosecuting attorney Preet Bharara says the manipulation is meaningless.
Bitcoin.com decided to reach out to Ross Ulbricht’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht to find out how she feels about the latest revelations. Here’s what Lyn had to say.
“The government wanted to make Ross an example, presumably to warn others from creating a similar site. (Of course, this failed, and there are many sites now in existence that are far bigger than Silk Road ever was).”
Bitcoin.com (BC): What do you think about the latest findings of Shaun Bridges caught stealing more Bitcoin than the government initially discovered?
Lyn Ulbricht (LU): It doesn’t surprise me, and I believe there is a whole lot more to the corruption than we know. Much about the corrupt agents and the extent of their crimes remains undisclosed. It is my personal suspicion that there could easily be more people involved, not only in stealing but tampering with material on the site. There is still an enormous amount of money unaccounted for.
It is important to note that both Bridges and Force are computer experts and had unfettered access to high-level administrator platforms on Silk Road. They had the ability to:
- Access passwords
- Change PIN numbers
- Commandeer accounts, including DPR’s (and act as DPR)
- Manipulate and create logs
- Create, edit and delete chats
- Create, edit and delete private messages
- Access private keys
- Manipulate, delete or create Posts on both forum and marketplace
- Access account information
- Access bank accounts
According to Ross’ lawyer, Joshua Dratel, there is every reason to believe that what has been revealed is merely the tip of the iceberg.
BC: How do you feel about the response Preet Bharara’s report states against the defense appeal?
LU: I’m not a lawyer, but it struck me as formulaic, self-proving and predictable. I didn’t see anything new or any compelling reasons backing up their arguments. Although they filled 186 pages, as far as I could see it boiled down to: “The judge was right, the defense was wrong, and you can be sure this is true because the government says so.”
BC: Why do you think Brian Farrell got an 8-year prison term in comparison to your son’s double life sentence?
LU: For the same reason that Jan Slomp (convicted as the leading drug seller on Silk Road) got 10 years; Steven Sadler (convicted as the biggest cocaine and heroin seller on Silk Road) got 5 years; Peter Nash, (convicted as senior Silk Road admin) got 17 months; and the corrupt agents got 6 and 7 years. Because it apparently is not about a product (drugs) but a platform (using anonymity) that is a political threat. The judge confirmed this at sentencing when she called DPR’s writing and the site’s political philosophy “deeply troubling” and “very dangerous.” As a lawyer I’m acquainted with commented:
“Neither Thomas Jefferson nor James Madison would likely have fared well if brought before Judge Forrest, because of their similarly ‘dangerous” views.’
The judge made it clear that, at least in part, she issued her barbaric sentence because she considers Ross a political threat. The grotesque disparity between Ross’ sentence and those of the others finally convinced me that he is a political prisoner. The government wanted to make Ross an example, presumably to warn others from creating a similar site. (Of course, this failed, and there are many sites now in existence that are far bigger than Silk Road ever was).
The judge also justified her sentence with the “fact” that Ross was the first person to create a site like this. Yet the law doesn’t allow harsher punishment for the first offender to have done something. She said: What you did was unprecedented and in breaking that ground as the first person you sit here as the defendant now today having to pay the consequences for that.
As the corruption continues to come out of the woodwork, it seems to underline the defense’s appeal that agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges clearly manipulated the investigation multiple times.
It’s apparent the prosecution doesn’t believe it’s necessary to take this substantial evidence into consideration when reviewing Josh Dratel’s appeal. Many believe that, because of the government’s actions in matters of this magnitude, the American justice system has failed.
Lyn Ulbricht believes it is worrisome that this case will take precedence in years to come concerning Internet freedoms and victimless crimes.
Bitcoin.com would like to thank Lyn for speaking with us concerning this news.
What do you think about the latest news in regards to Shaun Bridges stealing more money even after he was caught? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your opinions.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, and Lyn Ulbricht.