A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent was convicted of stealing bitcoins while investigating the online black market Silk Road. He was also convicted of soliciting payment from Silk Road's operator in exchange for revealing information about the DEA probe.
During his criminal trial, Agent Carl Force confessed to charges of money laundering, obstruction of justice and extortion. On Monday, the judge who presided over the case, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, said that the scope of the agent's crimes was breathtaking.
Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison
Prosecutors originally requested a punishment of 87 months in prison. Ultimately, the judge sentenced Force to 78 months. During the session Monday, Force apologized both to his family and to the American people. "I'm sorry, I lost it and I don't understand a lot of it," he said.
Silk Road was in operation for over two years, but it was eventually taken offline in 2013. The website boasted a total of $214 million worth of illicit goods sales, including illegal drugs by using bitcoins as the primary mode of currency.
The founder of Silk Road, Ros Ulbricht, was sentenced to a lifetime prison term last May after a federal grand jury found him guilty of multiple criminal counts, including the distribution of illicit drugs on the Internet.
Force Sold Information About the DEA Investigation to Silk Road Founder
According to prosecutors, during the DEA investigation into Silk Road, Force posed undercover as an online drug dealer with the username "Nob" and convinced Ross Ulbricht to pay him $50,000 in exchange for information about the DEA investigation. Meanwhile, Force concealed the $50,000 payment from the DEA. Force also used a different username, "French Maid," to ask for $98,000 in exchange for more information.
It is not uncommon for law enforcement officials to be accused of crimes relating to the abuse of their positions. Typically, these individuals are punished harshly when convicted; therefore, those accused of such crimes will want to take their criminal defenses very seriously.
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