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Fmr. Federal Agents From Md. Charged With Bitcoin Money Laundering, Wire Fraud

SAN FRANCISCO (WJZ) -- Two Maryland men---one a former US Secret Service agent---appear in federal court, accused of stealing digital currency during an investigation into an online black market.

Christie Ileto explains.

Court documents reveal former agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges wanted some of the money for themselves as they brought down one of the internet's top cybercriminals.

Force and Bridges---two former federal agents from Maryland; one from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the other from the Secret Service---are both on the wrong side of the law.

They were assigned to Baltimore's Silk Road task force, leading to the 2013 take down of the billion dollar underground online drug market led by digital drug lord Ross Ulbricht.

But the Department of Justice's newly unsealed court documents show Bridges stole "$820,000 in bitcoins or electronic currency he got while investigating" using a "series of wire transfers" and put them into a "personal account."

While Force, undercover at the time, chatted with Ulbricht, "Set up fake accounts receiving $250,000 from [him]" in exchange for "not sharing info" to the feds.

In once instance, Force allegedly used the online name "French Maid" to get $100,000 in bitcoins from Ulbricht, depositing them into his personal account.

Both are charged with wire fraud and money laundering, among other charges---but the big question is, could these charges cause trouble for the feds' case against Ulbricht?

Both agents played a key role in investigating the Baltimore-based murder-for-hire case against him. In Maryland, Ulbricht is charged with ordering the torture and murder of a witness. Records show both Force and Bridges helped stage fake "proof of death" photos to convince Ulbricht that a hit he allegedly ordered was carried out.

Bridges resigned abruptly from the Secret Service earlier this month; Force also resigned from the DEA.

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