Michael Brown paid $5,000 for 371,000 bitcoins. Wire magazine has called him the “richest man in the bitcoin realm.” When the Secret Service smashed through Brown’s front door in September, he was familiar with the case of an anonymous computer hacker claiming to have copies of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Brown was interested in the case because of history with computers. The Secret Service searched his home for 18 hours, pulling laptops, hard drives and all manner of digital storage devices from his Franklin, Tennessee home. (Read more…)
Two months since the search, Brown has not been charged with anything. Brown is the prime suspect, it seems, in an attempt to extort money. When an individual or group claimed to have Mitt Romney’s tax returns, they asked for $1 million to release the documents or not.
No alphabet agency has come out with whether or not somebody actually downloaded, or obtained otherwise, Romney’s tax filings. Brown is not waiting around to find out – he is now publicly denying his involvement in the role. He has even created mbdonationfund.com to garner support.
“If there was anything they could use,” Brown said, “I wouldn’t be here.”
Nobody seems to know if charges will be brought against Brown, and all documents regarding the investigation have been sealed by the judge who granted the search warrant for Brown’s home.
“We’ve taken the unusual step of confirming an investigation by the Secret Service,” Boling said. “The matter is under investigation, so there’s nothing really we could say.”
Certified computer forensic examiner out of Austin, Texas, lawyer Craig Ball, says that authorities can use the serial numbers off of two flash drives, said to contain the tax returns, left at a political office in Williamson County. Each computer keeps a record of all external devices plugged into them. Considering how easy a task this is, one suspects that the authorities would have already completed it, either implicating, or not, Brown.
The search warrant also contains IP addresses that could be used to determine which computers posted the extortion letter online at Pastebin.com. Authorities have also taken an interest in Bitcoin, a system through which the money was to be paid.
Brown defends himself quite simply: because of bitcoin volatility, he actually created his own digital currency that competes with bitcoin. Why would he demand payment in competition to his currency?
“Short of an abacus and a stone tablet, there’s nothing they can’t take from this person’s home,” Ball said. “They’re not fishing.”
Brown has been targeted before because of his computer knowhow. In 2009, the Secret Service also showed up to his house. They were looking for evidence to try him for the thefts of thousands of Social Security numbers. Never charged, Brown even agreed to a polygraph at the time.
Brown does not reserve judgement for the agents: ”They left me with the impression of a bunch of apes with screwdrivers punching away at stuff.
The letters claim that the author got Romney’s tax documents from the Franklin office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Romney’s accounting firm. But the company denies any such occurrence.
“At this point there’s nothing to suggest our systems were tampered with,” Chris Atkins, a spokesman for the company in New York City, said last week.
The post Home of “Richest Man in Bitcoin Realm” Torn Apart By Secret Service appeared first on Silver Vigilante.
[VIA Silver Vigilante]