Carl Force, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, was sentenced to 78 months in prison on Monday for stealing Bitcoins during the government’s investigation of Silk Road and for secretly soliciting payment from the operator of the online black market for information on its probe.
In a San Francisco federal court on Monday, Force was admitted to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said the scope of his betrayal was “breathtaking,” adding that the ex-agent “was the master of his fate in this whole disgraceful episode.”
“Why should he get a break for this?” the judge told Force’s lawyer, Ivan Bates. “I just don’t see it.”
Force pleaded guilty to charges that he stole Bitcoins during the investigation of Silk Road, which led to the conviction of the site’s founder Ross Ulbricht. A New York judge sentenced Ulbricht, who called himself “Dread Pirate Roberts” online, to life in prison in May.
As said by prosecutors, without telling his superiors, Force adopted the alias “French Maid” to extort and negotiate with Ulbricht, selling information about the government’s investigation in exchange for payment. According to the government, Force channeled more than $400,000 in digital currency to his personal bank accounts.
U.S. prosecutors had requested an 87-month prison sentence. However, Force’s attorneys asked for a four-year sentence, explaining that he deserved less time partly because of mental health issues.
In court on Monday, Force apologized to the American people, and to his family: “I’m sorry, I lost it and I don’t understand a lot of it,” Force said.
The case is USA v. Force, 15-cr-00319, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).