The former Baltimore-based DEA agent accused of stealing bitcoin while investigating Silk Road pleaded guilty to the charges against him on Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Carl Force was accused of stealing more than $700,000 worth of bitcoin while going undercover in 2013 to investigate Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, who went by the alias Dread Pirate Roberts. Under the name “Nob,” Force sold Ulbricht items he claimed were fake driver’s licenses and inside government information. He then kept the bitcoin for himself.
He then created another name, “French Maid,” and sold Ulbricht information about the government’s investigation into Silk Road for $100,000.
Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison in May for running the online black market that became a haven for drug dealing.
Silk Road wasn’t the only path to charges for Force. In 2014, Force invested $110,000 in bitcoin exchange CoinMKT. When he got information about suspicious activity in an account, Force said he was a DEA agent and ordered the company to freeze the account. He then transferred $300,000 in digital currency into his own personal account.
“Seduced by the perceived anonymity of virtual currency and the dark web, Force used invented online personas and encrypted messaging to fraudulently obtain bitcoin worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government and investigative targets alike,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said in a statement.
Force’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 19. A second DEA agent, Shaun W. Bridges, of Laurel, Md., was also indicted for stealing bitcoin. He has yet to enter a plea.