Force suggested he could be my company's compliance officer, ensuring that we followed all the strict regulations that apply to businesses that transfer money. He told me he had grown passionate about digital currency and that he had accumulated millions of dollars in Bitcoin after having bought it while it was cheap."I am looking to separate [from] 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," he wrote. "Hope to hear from you!"
Force suggested he could be my company's compliance officer
His reference to my "prompt answers" alludes to my passable customer service.That he was sending me these emails while he was working for the federal government and telling me how he was going to leave the agency to pursue Bitcoin investments just seemed off. He was also in Baltimore and I was in California, which made working together impractical. Again, I did not reply.Six months later he wrote again:
As I advised, I am actively looking for a partner in the Bitcoin arena to exploit the tremendous profit potential before Bitcoin becomes mainstream.
I am not an IT guy, I am assuming that you are and designed and implemented the goldsilverbitcoin website.
I propose that I take over the AML/Compliance section of your business and prepare Financial Statements and the General Ledger.
The major thing with compliance is going to be handling subpoenas if goldsilverbitcoin is served. I can easily take care of that, since that is what I do now, but on the other side of it.
I hope this does not come across too aggressive. I just identified you as an individual that I would like to work with … it was your prompt answers to my questions.
Carl "Mark" Force
That was the last I heard of him—until I clicked on a link from the New York Times in March and realized just what kind of bullet I had dodged:
Carl Force here … I did some business with you awhile back. I was wondering if you were looking for a partner. As I remember, we talked about it briefly. If so please give me a call at ***-***-****
About 18 months after he initially contacted me, Force was charged with money laundering, wire fraud, theft of government property, and conflict of interest due to his actions while working on the Silk Road case. He pled guilty and was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.In retrospect, I can only assume that by contacting me Force was attempting to hide bitcoins he had stolen from the Silk Road's proprietor Dread Pirate Roberts.At his trial, Force showed remorse for his actions. "I would just like to publicly apologize to the American people, to the US government, to my friends and family. I'm sorry. I lost it. I don't understand a lot of it," he said. His lawyer brought up his alcoholism, mental health issues, job stresses, and the death of his father in April 2013. The judge, however, was unsympathetic, saying "The extent and scope of Mr. Force's betrayal of the public trust is quite breath-taking."
On Monday, the government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate.
The agents, Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, had resigned amid growing scrutiny, and on Monday they were charged with money laundering and wire fraud. Mr. Force was also charged with theft of government property and conflict of interest.