Tennessee Man Accused of Trying to Blackmail Mitt Romney . . . for Bitcoins

by Will Allen

Michael M. Brown of Franklin, Tenn., faces a federal indictment for fraud and extortion after allegedly attempting to blackmail Mitt Romney during last year’s presidential-election campaign.  According to a Department of Justice press release, the indictment accuses Brown of falsely claiming to have hacked into the computer system of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and accessed tax returns for the Republican presidential nominee and his wife, Ann Romney, from before the year 2010. Brown revealed his claim in a letter sent to PwC and the local Democratic and Republican party offices in Franklin; the letter “demanded that $1 million worth of the digital currency Bitcoin be deposited to a specific Bitcoin account to prevent the release of the purportedly stolen Romney tax returns. The letter also invited interested parties who wanted the allegedly stolen Romney tax documents to be released to contribute $1 million to another Bitcoin account.” 

NPR has more on the indictment, plus an earlier report on the investigation leading to Brown’s arrest.

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