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Secret Service agent gets 71 months in prison for stealing from Silk Road dealers

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Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has been sentenced to 71 months in prison, after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice earlier this year, as first reported by Ars Technica. Bridges was part of the team investigating the Silk Road, ultimately resulting in the conviction of Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht. But as Bridges was working to investigate the marketplace, he was also stealing from many of the site's customers, using administrator credentials pilfered from a confidential informant. Through a string of such thefts, Bridges was able to amass as much as 20,000 bitcoin. Bridges also paid $500,000 in restitution as part of his sentence.

It's the end of a long and often controversial case, which has run parallel to the prosecution of Ulbricht himself. Bridges' alleged partner in crime, DEA agent Carl Mark Force, pled guilty to related charges of extortion, money laundering, and obstruction of justice in July, and was sentenced to six years in prison in October. "I'm sorry," Force said at the time. "I lost it and I don't understand a lot of it."

It's still unclear how central Force and Bridges were to the larger investigation. The charges against the two agents were not made public until after Ulbricht had been convicted, although prosecutors say any evidence linked to the agents was strictly removed, and their convictions are unlikely to serve as grounds for appeal.