August 31, 2015 / 11:07 PM / 2 years ago

Former Secret Service agent pleads guilty in Bitcoin theft

Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A former Secret Service agent pleaded guilty on Monday to diverting to his personal account over $800,000 worth of bitcoins during an investigation into online drug marketplace Silk Road.

Shaun Bridges, 33, appeared in federal court in San Francisco and admitted to money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Silk Road operated for more than two years until it was shut down in October 2013, generating more than $214 million in sales of drugs and other illicit goods using bitcoins, prosecutors said.

Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road’s creator, who authorities say used the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life in prison in May after a federal jury in Manhattan found him guilty of several charges, including distributing drugs through the Internet.

Bridges belonged to a Baltimore-based federal task force that investigated Silk Road. Another member of that unit, former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force, has admitted to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

An attorney for Ulbricht has said those charges “removes any question about the corruption that pervaded the investigation of Silk Road.”

In court on Monday, Bridges admitted his theft made Ulbricht believe that another individual was stealing from Silk Road and helped lead Ulbricht to try to hire someone to kill that person.

Sentencing for Bridges was scheduled for December.

Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Leslie Adler

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