Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California
For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO - A former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service pleaded guilty today to charges of money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington D.C. Field Office Cyber Crimes Unit Special Agent in Charge Kimberly A. Lappin, Special Agent in Charge John Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Division, and Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General Houston Field Office David Green.
Shaun W. Bridges, 35, of Laurel, Md., pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California. Sentencing has been set for November 7, 2017. Bridges had been a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service for approximately six years in the Baltimore Field Office. Between 2012 and 2014, he was assigned to the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, a multi-agency group investigating illegal activity on the Silk Road, a covert online marketplace for illicit goods, including drugs. Bridges’ responsibilities included, among other things, conducting forensic computer investigations in an effort to locate, identify and prosecute targets of the Silk Road Task Force, including Ross Ulbricht, a/k/a “Dread Pirate Roberts,” who ran the Silk Road from the Northern District of California. In 2015, Bridges pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of obstruction of justice related to his theft and diversion of over $800,000 in digital currency over which he gained control as part of his role on the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force. In December 2015, Bridges was sentenced to 71 months in prison on those charges.
Prior to reporting to prison to begin serving his sentence for the 2015 conviction, Bridges was arrested and taken into custody on new charges related to another theft of approximately 1,600 bitcoin, valued at the time of the theft at approximately $359,005, (approximately $6.6 million today) from a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government. According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea in this case, Bridges admitted to using a private key to access a digital wallet belonging to the U.S. government, and subsequently transferring the bitcoin to other digital wallets at other bitcoin exchanges to which only he had access. In the course of the investigation, U.S. agents were able to locate and seize approximately 600 of the stolen bitcoin and, as part of his plea, Bridges agreed to turn over the remaining stolen bitcoin.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Frentzen and Trial Attorney Richard B. Evans of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section with assistance from Bridget Kilkenny. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Countryman is handling asset forfeiture aspects of the case. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s San Francisco Division, the IRS-CI’s Washington D.C. Field Office Cyber Crimes Unit, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General.