Bitcoin enthusiasts will recall an individual going by the name of Shaun Bridges. During the Silk Road investigation, Bridges was one of two US officials who stole bitcoins taken from Ross Ulbricht and his darknet marketplace. In a startling turn of events, Bridges will serve an additional two years in jail for money laundering. The sentence is well-deserved, although the punishment may not be severe enough.
Shaun Bridges Remains in Jail
The entire Silk Road investigation has received a lot of media attention over the past few years. Perhaps the most underappreciated point is that not one, but two US officials stole bitcoins over the course of this case. Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent, was one of those individuals. His theft eventually came to light and resulted in a 71-month prison sentence. The verdict was handed down last year, which means there are still a few years remaining on his sentence as we speak.
However, it seems Bridges will not be getting off that easily. A new report states that an additional two years were added to his prison sentence earlier this week in connection with additional theft charges. It is only normal that his money laundering activities would irk the US government in one way or another. While the new set of charges is somewhat surprising, it seems they apply to his activities after leaving the Secret Service. The prospect of transferring 1,600 BTC seized during the investigation was too tempting to pass up, by the look of things.
It didn’t take long for Bitstamp to notice someone was trying to move these funds, and it promptly reported the incident to authorities. It was this red flag which brought Bridges’s involvement to light and got him arrested shortly thereafter. He had no other option than to sign a plea deal in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. That was quite controversial, considering that alleged Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht was charged with life in prison without parole. This discrepancy in sentencing still doesn’t sit well with a lot of Bitcoin community members, for obvious reasons.
Moreover, there was more than enough evidence to warrant a much heftier jail sentence for Bridges. After all, he was all but forced to plead guilty to money laundering charges in August of this year. There was even video evidence of him running off with hard drives containing the information needed to retrieve the bitcoins in question. It is evident this activity should have been punished far more severely, but a proverbial “slap on the wrist” seems to have been his only sentence. Spending a total of seven years in jail isn’t fun by any means, but it pales in comparison to what Ulbricht must be going through.
In the end, it is good to see corrupt government officials get the punishment they deserve. Whether or not seven years in jail is severe enough is up for debate. Matters like this one are always subject to interpretation, and people’s opinions greatly differ. At the same time, the second sentencing being handed down is pretty significant, as it shows the US government is still paying a lot of attention to what went down with Bridges and the other corrupt official.
Bitcoin is still getting a lot of attention from the government, even though most people would prefer otherwise. It is evident anyone who tries to launder money with the world’s leading cryptocurrency will find themselves in a major pickle sooner or later. There is no reason for anyone to launder money in the first place, let alone use cryptocurrency to achieve this goal. It’s a valuable lesson learned for a former US government employee; that much is certain.