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Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:41 AM

Tenn. Man Claims Innocence In Romney Tax Blackmail Probe

Source: TPM

In early September, when the Democratic National Convention was underway in Charlotte, N.C. and the presidential race was hitting full stride, a brief stir was created by what many people presumed to be an elaborate hoax. In statements posted online, an anonymous person or group claimed to have stolen tax documents belonging to Mitt and Ann Romney from a PricewaterhouseCoopers office in Franklin, Tenn., and further claimed to have put encrypted copies of the documents on thumb drives and sent those thumb drives out in the mail.

A ransom was demanded ($1 million in Bitcoins, a virtual currency), a deadline was set (Sept. 28), actual envelopes containing actual thumb drives actually turned up (at the offices of the Williamson County, Tenn. Democratic and Republican parties), and the Secret Service got involved (a spokesman told TPM the agency was “investigating the incident.”) But then the deadline came and went, the Romneys’ tax returns did not become public (despite the fact that, presumably, no ransom was paid), and the whole thing became a small, odd, nearly forgotten footnote in the story of the campaign.

Recently, though, a Tennessee man has come forward to say that the Secret Service has been investigating him in connection with the case. He has taken the unusual step of publicly identifying himself as the target of a federal probe because, he says, he is innocent. And he wants his stuff back.

According to Franklin, Tenn. resident Michael Brown, Secret Service agents raided his home on the morning of Sept. 14, about two weeks after the anonymous posts started circulating on the website Pastebin.com.

Read more: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/11/michael_brown_romney_tax_blackmail.php

9 replies, 2730 views

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Tenn. Man Claims Innocence In Romney Tax Blackmail Probe (Original post)
DonViejo Nov 2012 OP
mzteaze Nov 2012 #1
BouzoukiKing Nov 2012 #5
lexw Nov 2012 #7
BouzoukiKing Nov 2012 #8
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #2
Dubster Nov 2012 #3
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #4
femrap Nov 2012 #6
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #9

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:49 AM

1. Strange story

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Response to mzteaze (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:11 PM

5. It's actually stranger than that.

I've been involved in Bitcoin for some time - and Michael Brown is well-known in the bitcoin community. At one time (under his handle of "KnightMB") he claimed to have lost 371,000 BTC to someone who hacked into his computer. That was some time ago, and was probably responsible for the more recent focus on encryption and security in the bitcoin client (the 'wallet' software you can put on your own computer).

Bitcoin has been responsible for some amazing stories; good and bad.

Yesterday, of course, it was announced that Wordpress - whose software runs 48% of the blogs on the planet (including, for example, the NY Times blog) - is now accepting Bitcoin, and will be tightly integrating it into their blogging platform.

My advice to all here would be to get involved in Bitcoin - it is the sure path to keeping the internet free and open.

Try http://www.weusecoins.com/

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Response to BouzoukiKing (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:30 PM

7. That's awesome.

I'm sure there are a lot of organizations that would like to see Bitcoin go away.

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Response to lexw (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:33 PM

8. mmmph. Can you say 'PayPal'? n/t

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:59 AM

2. ... Brown said he could not explain why the Secret Service is targeting him, but he noted

that in 2009 the same agency came to his house looking for evidence tying him to the alleged theft of thousands of Social Security numbers held by an insurance company. He was never charged, and Brown said he met with federal agents four times to answer questions ...

Tenn. techie denies being hacker in Romney tax returns case
Josh Adams, The (Nashville) Tennessean
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2012/11/12/romney-tax-returns-hacker/1699075/

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:01 PM

3. Spam deleted by gkhouston (MIR Team)

 

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:02 PM

4. ... According to Brown, the agents separated the couple and questioned his wife about the photos

of the cats.

“They didn’t want to show anything to me. They did it to my wife. They said, ‘These are your cats,’” he said. “When she objected, they were like, ‘Yes, they are.’ ” ...

While Brown maintains his innocence, he said cats in the photos the feds are showing around belong to a family friend and a former client of his, Janine Bolin.

“My daughter did recognize one of the cats. They belonged to a friend of my wife. She has five or six kids and lives in a house in Franklin, as well,” said Brown, who once serviced Bolin’s computer. “It was a desktop computer that was having issues starting up.” As part of the service, Brown backed up her photos and documents on a thumb drive ...

Felines of confusion
IT ace says he didn’t steal Romney tax returns – and those cats aren’t his
By M.L. Nestel Friday, November 9, 2012
http://www.thedaily.com/article/2012/11/09/110912-news-romney-tax-raid/

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:15 PM

6. Cats? This is the evidence

 

the Nashville Feds are using to disrupt an entire family's lives???

Probably because he was questioned before made him an 'easy' target...Goddess forbid that the Nashville Fed do any real detective work.

Cats? Come on.

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Response to femrap (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 12:49 PM

9. Looks like the Feds had some thumbdrives apparently associated with the original blackmail attempts

Last edited Fri Nov 16, 2012, 03:16 PM - Edit history (1)

and there were some kitty pics they could recover off from those: tracing the kitty pics might put them in the social network of the would-be blackmailer, and it rather looks like their suspect might actually know the folk whose kitties those are

If that part of the story holds up, then the Feds could be close to the responsible party, cuz it's plausible that amateur dumbfuck would-be blackmailer just deleted the kitty pics from a thumbdrive lying around and recycled the drive in making the threat

Of course, there can be a certain sameness to kitty pics, and anyway a photo can quickly travel far and wide on the innertubes, so kitty pics probably ain't the decisive issue here


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