DailyPost 2680

Silkroad investigation by the FBI in 2013 would go down as a watershed technical investigation for a variety of reasons, most importantly, for *darknet enabled drug cartel propelled by crypto currency being brought to book for the first time. “Dread Pirate Roberts” as nickname of master cybercriminal goes, was eventually caught logged into the site from a public library. Rest as they proverbially say, is history. This case also became infamous for secret service agent/s of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, swindling Bitcoins, for which they were later convicted. The two agents were Force and Bridges, the former being a lead agent in communication, while the latter was a computer forensic expert.

That there can be moles and bad actors in the best of investigative and law enforcement agencies is understandable, but in an elite dedicated task force, where every member is selected after due care, investigating a globally pathbreaking case in not acceptable. But now the wheel has taken a full circle. Conviction is one part of the story. US now files notice to sell $130 million in bitcoin linked to the Silk Road agent. The notice field is to sell over 2.900 bitcoin some of which is linked to a former Secret Service Agent. Silk Road forfeitures are being sold, and that is the way to go for the governments in such cases.

The public notification lists two lots of bitcoin the government intends to sell. The first is roughly $2,800 BTC for roughly $129 million and the second is a smaller lot of 58 BTC for about $3 million. The first lot is connected to Farace and his father and Bridges of the Silk Road investigation fame, a former Secret Service agent then a part of Baltimore Silk Road task force. Ryan Farace is serving a prison sentence of 54 months on a money laundering charge. Money laundering done for drug trafficking. He and his father Joseph and were both involved in this case. Father son duo were found to have conspired in an attempt to “transfer more than 2,874 Bitcoin to a third party, so that the funds could be moved into a foreign bank account.”

The first and bigger lot is tied to Shaun Bridges, besides the father son duo. Bridges was sentenced in 2015 for a six-year prison term. This was in connection with the “theft of BTC during US government’s investigation of the Silk Road dark marketplace.” During the admissions made to the court, he is said to have admitted using a “private key to access digital wallet belonging to the US government.” The bitcoins in question were subsequently transferred to other digital wallets at other bitcoin exchange. Only he has access to these bitcoin exchanges, completing the full circle of this mega digital crime thriller.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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