Hackers allegedly holding Romney tax returns for ransom
The financial firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is taking the alleged theft of Mitt Romney’s tax returns seriously, according to BuzzFeed, though it has no evidence that any documents were actually stolen.
“We are aware of the allegations that have been made regarding improper access to our systems,” the firm said in a statement. “We are working closely with the United States Secret Service, and at this time there is no evidence that our systems have been compromised or that there was any unauthorized access to the data in question.”
Unidentified hackers announced Wednesday that they obtained Romney’s tax returns in an elaborate and implausible heist. They claimed to have gained access to the firm’s office in Tennessee “via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building,” then went down the stairs to the second floor and “setup shop in an empty office room.” At night, the alleged thieves copied all the 1040 tax forms for Romney they uncovered.
In addition, the hackers claimed to have sent USB drives containing information contained on Romney’s tax forms to local Democratic and Republican Party offices. Williamson County Republican party executive director Jean Barwick has confirmed relieving the USB drive, but has not confirmed the authenticity of the drive’s content.
The hackers have threatened to release the documents to the public unless they are paid $1,000,000 by September 28 using the Internet barter system known as “Bitcoin.”
Romney has released his tax returns for 2010 and vowed release his 2011 tax returns when they are ready, but has refused to release more. The Republican presidential candidate said he will not release earlier tax returns because he doesn’t want to disclose charitable donations to the Mormon church.