A 35-year-old former agent with the U.S. Secret Service who had investigated online criminal activity has accepted responsibility for his own crimes. Appearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, he entered a guilty plea on money laundering charges. His charges arose from a theft of 1,600 bitcoins. At the time that he diverted the digital currency from a government account to a digital wallet that only he could access, the bitcoins had an approximate value of $359,005.
Investigators have tracked down and recovered about 600 of the stolen bitcoins. The former agent agreed within his plea deal to return the outstanding bitcoin balance. This criminal case adds to his previous conviction in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice. At that time, investigators found that he had diverted $800,000 in digital currency. That conviction produced a sentence for 71 months in prison.
He had worked as a special agent for six years and spent two years on a task force targeting an online marketplace for illegal goods known as the Silk Road. His duties included forensic computer investigations to identify and locate people doing business on the Silk Road.
When a person stands accused of activities that fall under the purview of federal law, an attorney familiar with federal crimes could offer guidance. An attorney could explain federal court procedures and provide advice before the person makes statements to investigators or in court. Plea bargain negotiations could also be managed by an attorney. If a plea deal emerges, an attorney could describe the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal and help the defendant make a decision about accepting or rejecting the offer.
Source: San Francisco Patch, "Former Secret Service Agent Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering", Aug. 16, 2017