The winding Silk Road criminal prosecution continues to make news as convicted Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has created a stir with the creation of a new identity. Prosecutors claim he is trying to flee justice after his conviction last month, but Bridges claims he is the victim of identity theft.
The Twists and Turns of the Silk Road Continue
Bridges plead guilty to stealing over US$800,000 in bitcoins from the Silk Road, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. This seems to have been only the beginning of Bridges’ problems. According to his defense attorney Steven Levin, he claims to have become an identity theft statistic not once, but four times since his involvement in “Dark Web’s” Silk Road came to light. In fact, Bridges petitioned to change his name and social security number before entering his guilty plea. The problem may be that Bridges petitioned the court to conceal his petition from the public, raising the ire of the prosecution.
This did not please U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seaborg who cut off Bridges internet access, created a new curfew for him and established electronic monitoring of his person. The prosecution was denied imprisonment of Bridges until his sentencing in December.
According to Bridges’ defense, his identity was hacked four times for one of two reasons. His identity was among the millions of identities compromised in the Office of Personnel Management cyber attack that affected millions of government employees. Another theory is that his association with the high profile Silk Road case also had made him a target.
Last month, Bridges claims his car was broken into, which saw his wallet, credit cards, and Maryland Police Identification stolen. After working to replace these documents, he was arrested again on October 8 when he reported to his pretrial officer.
The prosecution does not believe the car theft took place and accused him of trying to get new identification documents for use in concealing weapons, entering government facilities and gaining new forms of ID without going through standard protocols. According to the prosecution, his wallet was stolen, but his driver’s license was not, a red flag that he is not being honest.
Bridges’ defense responded, saying:
“In essence, the government is asking that this Court detain Mr. Bridges for being the victim of a theft. Notwithstanding the baseless and nonsensical accusations to the contrary, Mr. Bridges’ situation has not changed. Mr. Bridges continues not to be a flight risk.”
Meanwhile, as the criminal trials of these government agents have unfolded, the appeal of Ross Ulbricht continues, and the criminal wrongdoing of the agents involved in Ulbricht’s conviction can only bolster his appeal’s case. The criminality of the agents was not permitted to be used in the trial of Ross Ulbricht, and this information may change his outcome, as he is currently sentenced to two life sentences for his part in Silk Road.
“The fact that Ross’ attorneys were not permitted to use this important information at trial was devastating to Ross’ defense,” Lyn Ulbricht told the Daily Dot. “These revelations of corruption cast doubt on the integrity of the entire investigation and the government’s case, including accusations of murder-for-hire, which we have always been certain were false.”