Former Federal Prosecutor Investigated Silk Road Federal Agents Through Blockchain
Using Blockchain for investigations
Former Federal Prosecutor Kathryn Haun has stated that Blockchain has been very helpful in investigating crypto crimes. Haun hit the headlines for her involvement in crypto cases such as the US federal agents’ involvement in extortion and fraud during the Silk Road investigation. Haun ruled that Bitcoin was not criminal by itself. The former prosecutor has been very interested in cryptocurrency and is currently a cryptocurrency and cybercrime lecturer at the Stanford University and more to that she also sits on coinbase’s board at the crypto wallet and exchange service.
During her time as a prosecutor, Kathryn Haun was in charge of prosecuting cases that involved the criminal use of cryptocurrencies. During the interview with Quarts, Haun revealed that investigations did not take place just because of the use of cryptocurrency. She clarified that:
“During my tenure, I learned that prosecuting Bitcoin was not simple and more to that it was also not desirable. This is because the team was heading was dealing with some of the worst criminal cases around cryptocurrency. The fact is that it was not because cryptocurrency was used but because crimes were committed. So the cases were not about the medium of transaction.”
During a Senate hearing in 2013, Kathryn Haun stressed that cryptocurrency was not an illegal entity: “When the Senate held its first hearing on Bitcoin there were three government witnesses who testified. According to their testimonies, they all emphasized that there was nothing illegal about Blockchain or even Bitcoin.”
The prosecutor went ahead to explain the role of Blockchain during her investigations convicting two federal agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges who had stolen Bitcoin as they were investigating Silk Road. According to her financial institutions were not helping with information during the investigation and sometimes didn’t respond at all. She went on to state that they received evidence from cryptocurrency platforms and communities who helped them to crack the case.
Haun stated that government investigators such as the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations used blockchain based wallet explorer to gather adequate evidence: “We had some very helpful public tools, and one very important thing is that the agents under prosecution were still employed by the federal government. Another good thing was that one of the agents was a self-proclaimed cryptocurrency person for the secret service. What we feared was our target agents discovering the process we were using on them. However, the public tools were very helpful during the case.”
There has been a lot of talks especially by the UK’s Justice Ministry about using blockchain to record evidence for investigations, especially where the cases involve footage from body-cameras worn by police officers.