Federal investigator to plead guilty to Silk Road robbery

Two federal investigators extorted more than $1 million from the Silk Road undergound marketplace during their investigations

Joshua Dratel, the attorney representing convicted Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht, speaks outside a federal courthouse in Manhattan following sentencing on May 29, 2015.

Joshua Dratel, the attorney representing convicted Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht, speaks outside a federal courthouse in Manhattan following sentencing on May 29, 2015.

The U.S. Department of Justice's conviction of Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht may have been compromised by two corrupt investigators.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force will plead guilty to extorting more than US$450,000 from the Silk Road online underground marketplace during his investigation of the site.

Force, who was a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, is the second federal officer who has been charged with taking money from the marketplace.

Last week, ex-Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, who worked with Force on the same task force, reached a plea bargain with prosecutors, for funneling money from Silk Road during the course of the investigation.

Force will plead guilty to extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice, according to court papers filed Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Last month, Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement with Silk Road, which federal authorities estimated generated over 1.2 billion in drug sales between 2011 and 2013.

Ulbricht's lawyer, Joshua Dratel, did not return immediate requests for comment though has stated at press conferences that the federal agents' misconduct could possibly play a role in Ulbricht's appeal, given how their actions may have damaged the integrity of the government's case against Ulbricht.

Both Force and Bridges were part of an undercover multi-agency task force investigating Silk Road prior to the operation's bust in October 2013.

During the course of his Silk Road investigation, Force had the DEA freeze an online, $297,000 account of one of the site's users, the DOJ says in court documents. He transferred the money into his personal account, rather than to the DEA, according to the DOJ.

Force also defrauded Ulbricht at least twice in 2013, using a number of pseudonyms on Silk Road, the DOJ says.

As "French Maid," Force talked Ulbricht into paying $98,000 for inside information about federal investigations into Silk Road. Then, as a drug dealer named "Nob," he convinced Ulbricht again to pay $50,000 to reveal investigation information, the DOJ said.

In both cases, Ulbricht's funds were transferred into Force's personal account, according to court documents. All the transactions were conducted in the bitcoin digital currency, which was the sole method of payment for Silk Road.

Bridges, who was charged with money laundering and obstruction of justice, took more than $800,000 worth of bitcoins from Silk Road, using a highjacked administrator account, the DOJ said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Criminaljustice departmentlegal

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?