I was quite surprised by it. I had somehow managed in 2013 to receive my first-ever letter of interest from an investor for GoldSilverBitcoin.
The sender claimed to currently be working for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His name was Carl Mark Force IV, and, according to his resume, he was the agent tasked with making contact with Dread Pirate Roberts, the administrator of the well-known darknet website Silk Road.
Mr. Force told me in email, and over the phone, he wished to partner with me and He would be in charge of my anti-money laundering policy, he suggested, for a company which, at the time, was doing minimal volume of selling gold and silver coins for cash, cheque and wire transfer.
After a couple of considerably sized transactions – both of which fell within the purview of Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer Policies – Force sent me the following email:
Heh, you looking for a partner? I have several skills a Bitcoin business could use.
- legal and regulatory compliance
- I’m a CPA
- have several thousand Bitcoin … I got in when they were $4 a XBT
Attached is my resume … don’t be turned off by the DEA Special Agent part … my civil service days are numbered
I am looking to separate for DEA and the sooner the better, but the one great thing is that I have a lot of contacts and can get things done that others couldn’t
Attached is my resume.
Hope to hear from you!
In the months before he first contacted me, Force tried to blackmail Dread Pirate Roberts from a Silk Road account, saying he would release sensitive customer information. From another account, he asked for $100,000 payments to murder the person threatening the leak, who was actually Force (or his partner, Shaun Bridges) behind a different username.
And then apparently he started contacting an unknown number of Bitcoin businesses. CoinMKT took his money and expertise, and he abused his conflicting positions as both a government agent and C-Level employee at that startup. He even apparently contacted Mark Karpeles, the imprisoned former CEO of the defunct Mt. Gox. On his resume, Force boasted an impressive history:
The criminal complaint became publish early in 2015 in The New York Times:
A criminal complaint unsealed on Monday in federal court in San Francisco outlined the allegations against the two former agents.
While investigating Silk Road, Mr. Force “stole and converted to his own personal use a sizable amount of Bitcoins,” the digital currency that was used by buyers and sellers on the website and which he obtained in his undercover capacity, the complaint said.
I decided to reach out to my local FBI office to discuss with them what I knew. After all, I had read my letters of incorporation. A meeting was arranged.
I made my way to the office not knowing what to expect. I went through their general screening procedures before sitting in a beautiful lobby, with a nice view of a local valley, for a short time. The two agents, middle-aged, clean cut men who did not necessarily look like law enforcement, brought me back to a small, plain interview room and asked me the story. I gave them the receipts and emails Force sent me and told them what I’ve told you here in this article
We spoke of small things. Family life.
They were gentlemen, and the conversation was focused.
After telling them everything I experienced with Carl Mark Force IV, one made a quip.
“Hey do you know how we could get better at..social media and marketing?”
I think he was referencing the Agency’s bad reputation among the youth.
They walked me through the halls of the FBI building and back out into the lobby. I was done there. They said they would be forwarding the documents onto the lead investigator in the case against Force and thanked me. We shook hands, I left, and waved goodbye to the security guards out front.”
For part 1: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/silk-roads-crooked-dea-agent-tried-to-invest-in-my-bitcoin-startup