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US agents in bitcoin trial

March 30, 2015

Two former US federal agents stand accused of having stolen large amount of bitcoins. Justice Department officials said the theft occurred during investigations into the Silk Road online underground marketplace.

Bitcoin virtual currency
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The US Justice Department reported Monday it had charged two former federal agents with wire fraud, money laundering and other offenses. The two men appeared to have stolen large amounts of the Bitcoin digital currency during a probe into underground marketplace Silk Road.

Former drug enforcement agent Carl F. allegedly developed unauthorized fake identities and engaged in complex Bitcoin transactions to "steal from the government and the targets of the investigation," the Justice Department stated.

It added that with one of those online personas, Carl F. offered the mastermind of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht - otherwise known as Dread Pirate Roberts – protection from the FBI probe in exchange for $250,000 (231,000 euros) worth of bitcoins.

Virtual heist

Ex-secret service agent Shaun B., for his part, diverted over $800,000 in digital money to his personal account - money which he had controlled as part of his official role in the Silk Road probe, the Justice Department said.

Carl F. was arrested as early as last Friday in Baltimore, while Shaun B. turned himself in to authorities on Monday.

Bitcoin: the digital currency

In a New York trial in February, a jury found that Ross Ulbricht was indeed Dread Pirate Roberts, and found him guilty of drug trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.

hg/nz (Reuters, AFP)