Former U.S. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty Monday to money laundering and obstruction of justice while investigating Silk Road, according to Bloomberg. Bridges admitted he stole $820,000 in bitcoins while serving on a Baltimore task force investigating the Silk Road Internet drug emporium. Bridges agreed in June to plead guilty to the charges.
During Monday’s hearing, a federal judge ordered Bridges to submit to electronic monitoring, and a curfew after a prosecutor told the judge Bridges tried to change his identity and possessed illegal firearms.
Prosecutor: Bridges May Try To Flee
The government learned of Bridges’ attempts to change his identity just hours before the hearing. Prosecutor Kathryn Haun told U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco, Calif. that Bridges tried to change his name and Social Security number and possessed illegal firearms. Haun told the judge that Bridges may try flee if allowed to remain free on bail and should be locked up while he awaits his sentencing in December.
Seeborg accepted Bridges’ plea but said the attempts to change his identity raises “red flags.”
“I’m not surprised they’re bringing this to my attention,” the judge said, referring to Haun’s request. “Give me a reason why I shouldn’t be quite distressed by this.”
Bridges’ lawyer, Steven Levin, said his client wanted to change his name because he was a former government employee and was an identity theft victim. Bridges told the judge he had petitioned the court to allow him to take his wife’s name.
Prosecutor Challenges Bridge’s Reasons
Haun disputed this claim, noting Bridges tried to take various new names. Haun also said it was suspicious since Bridges failed to notify a pretrial officer who was in charge of his detention. Haun further noted the government recovered four guns, including an assault weapon that Bridges possessed illegally.
Bridges served on a Baltimore task force whose investigation led to murder-for-hire and drug charges against Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts. A jury convicted Ulbricht of conspiracy and drug trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.
The case is USA v. Bridges, 15-cr-00319, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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