Feds charge former agents with bitcoin money laundering

Feds charge former agents with bitcoin money laundering
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The Justice Department is charging two former federal agents who were investigating a black market digital currency website with stealing money they recovered.

The federal agents were part of task force that ultimately shut down the illegal Silk Road website in 2013, but not before Carl Force, an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Secret Service special agent Shaun Bridges funneled bitcoin digital currency from the investigation into their personal accounts, the DOJ alleges.

Federal investigators are charging Force, 46, with wire fraud, money laundering and theft of government property.

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Force, who was arrested Friday, went undercover with the target of the investigation, Ross Ulbricht, who has since been convicted of running Silk Road.

Federal investigators allege Force created other fake online profiles that he used to take digital currency from the targets of the investigation, which he then transferred to his personal account.

Force also used his position with the DEA to illegally unfreeze his personal bank account and freeze other accounts, the charges allege.

"In one such transaction, Force allegedly sold information about the government’s investigation to the target of the investigation,” according to the DOJ’s charges.

Meanwhile, Bridges, who surrendered Monday, is charged with money laundering and wire fraud, after federal investigators allege he funneled $800,000 in digital currency collected from the investigation into his personal account on Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange.

The investigation is being led by the FBI’s San Francisco field office in conjunction with the inspector generals at the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security.