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Former DEA agent gets 6.5 years in Silk Road case

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A former US Drug Enforcement Administration agent was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for extortion and money laundering in connection with the Silk Road investigation.

On top of his jail time, Carl Force was ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution and to serve an additional three years of supervised release.

Force, 46, pleaded guilty in July in federal court in San Francisco.

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He is one of two federal agents so far who have been charged with crimes in connection with their roles in investigating Silk Road. Force had served as a DEA agent for 15 years.

Shaun Bridges, a special agent with the Secret Service, obtained access to a Silk Road website administrator account just before a huge theft of Bitcoin from the website.

In August, Bridges pleaded guilty to taking more than $800,000 of electronic Bitcoin currency while investigating Silk Road.

On the side, Force allegedly created unauthorized fake identities to communicate with Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” using PGP encryption software.

With one of these identities, he offered to sell information about the investigation for $100,000 worth of Bitcoin.

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Among the charges, Force admitted he had entered in a $240,000 contract with 20th Century Fox Film Studios to help make a movie about the government’s Silk Road probe, without obtaining the required DEA approvals to do so.

On the Silk Road website, illegal transactions could be conducted secretly in Bitcoin.

Ulbricht, the site’s creator, was sentenced to life in prison in May for charges including money laundering and drug trafficking.

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BUSTED: Devin Nunes is hiding how he’s paying for all his frivolous lawsuits — which could land him in more trouble

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On Saturday, the Fresno Bee dived into a lingering question: How does Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) pay for all the lawsuits he is filing against journalists, satirists, and political critics?

"Nunes, R-Tulare, has filed lawsuits against Twitter, anonymous social media users known as Devin Nunes' Cow and Devin Nunes' Mom, a Republican political strategist, media companies, journalists, progressive watchdog groups, a political research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and a retired farmer in Nunes’ own district," noted the Bee.

These lawsuits were mainly filed in Virginia — a state with very loose laws against so-called "SLAPP suits," or meritless lawsuits intended to drown people in legal expenses in retaliation for expressing political opinions. Nunes was assisted in these suits by Steven Biss, a Virginia attorney, and yet except for the suit against the retired farmer, there is no clear record in Nunes' FEC reports of how he paid for the suits.

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Trump brings up Brett Kavanaugh in rage tweet at Democrats about coming impeachment trial

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On Saturday, President Donald Trump brought up Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a bizarre rant against the "Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems" and his anger over the direction of the impeachment process:

After watching the disgraceful way that a wonderful man, @BrettKavanaugh, was treated by the Democrats, and now seeing first hand how these same Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems are treating the whole Impeachment Hoax, I understand why so many Dems are voting Republican!

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McConnell’s impeachment collusion admission handed the Democrats a powerful new weapon to damage the president

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Mitch McConnell's admission on Fox News that he is working behind the scenes with the White House to stack the Senate impeachment trial gives Democrats a potent weapon against the GOP, wrote Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.

"If Democrats play their procedural cards right, they can pressure Republicans to allow for a much fairer and more open trial that could actually produce new revelations — and if they refuse, extract a political price for it," they wrote.

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