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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » Silk Road Bitcoin Scheme Brings Down Federal Agent

Silk Road Bitcoin Scheme Brings Down Federal Agent

silk-road-bitcoin-scamRewind to a couple of years ago, when the federal government was investigating the online black market known as “the Silk Road.” Naturally, this process involved agents posing as criminals, so that they could receive insider information and thereby bring down the illegal system. This kind of thing happens all the time on a smaller scale, as we know (“You sure you’re not a cop?”).

But one federal agent involved in the investigation couldn’t resist the temptation of sneaking away a little profit. Sorry, I meant to say a LOT of profit. Now this guy, Carl Force, is looking at a humungous prison sentence for trying to steal $50,000 in bitcoins while impersonating as a drug dealer in the federal scheme that wound up taking Silk Road offline and putting its mastermind behind bars.

Silk Road: The Babylon of Internet Drugs

Some of us might not be aware of what exactly the Silk Road was. For one thing, it was the first “darknet” market to grace the internet. It was a place where people could shop for illicit goods, the most notable of which being drugs, without fear of being monitored by the government and stuff. The site ran for a glorious 2 years before its 2013 shutdown. Bitcoins were famously used as the Silk Road’s currency.

Silk Road’s father was Ross Ulbricht, although he did business under the name of “Dread Pirate Roberts.” He was the kingpin that the feds were trying to knock down in their 2013 investigation involving Carl Force. Ulbricht was charged with a lifelong prison sentence upon being caught by the government.

The Irresistible Glitter of Bitcoins

“I’m sorry, I lost it and I don’t understand a lot of it.”

These are the words of Carl Force, who was apparently helpless to resist the tantalizing prospect of bitcoin riches during the federal takedown of the Silk Road. Under the alias of “Nob,” Force communicated with the Dread Pirate Roberts, from whom he managed to squeeze out $50,000 in bitcoins in exchange for nonexistent information on the federal investigation. This might’ve been fine — if he hadn’t immediately nestled the bitcoins away into his own account, where he clearly hoped they’d remain unnoticed.

He had a helper: former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, who also faced charges for aiding Force in his attempts to sneak away the bitcoin fortune. They were part of the same task force in the investigation.

Force will be spending 78 months in prison as a consequence of his sneaky betrayal. His crimes on paper: money laundering, extortion, and obstruction of justice.

Tennessee Law: Extortion

If Carl Force’s task force had been based in Tennessee instead of Baltimore, he’d still be looking at the same charges (at least). The definition of extortion isn’t really “up for debate” in any state, but Tennessee state law defines the crime as “coercion upon another person” with the intent to restrict their freedom, or acquire something of value.

Extortion is a Class D felony, which means its taken pretty seriously. It’s unsurprising that, considering the culmination of all of his charges, Force will be spending such a lengthy amount of time behind bars.

Hire Nashville Criminal Attorneys

Whether you’re the victim of extortion, or wrongfully accused of committing such a crime, it’s crucial that you seek legal representation in order to ensure that your rights are protected. At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of criminal cases. We know the most efficient routes in pursuing a successful case — so call today, or go online to set up your Free Initial Consultation. A skilled lawyer is ready and waiting to get you on track toward the justice you deserve.

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