Franklin Man Charged In Scheme To Extort Mitt Romney

The indictment alleges that Michael Mancil Brown referred to himself as "Dr. Evil" when he would post about the extortion on Pastebin.com. Credit: DOJ

The indictment alleges that Michael Mancil Brown referred to himself as “Dr. Evil” when he would post about the extortion on Pastebin.com. Credit: DOJ

A scheme to defraud presidential candidate Mitt Romney has resulted in the indictment of a man in Franklin. Thirty-four year-old Michael Mancil Brown is charged with extortion and wire fraud.

In late August prior to last year’s election, Republican and Democratic party offices in Franklin received letters along with a flash drive. It supposedly contained an encrypted file of Romney’s tax returns before 2010.

Michael Brown is accused of sending those letters and asking for a million dollar pay off. He wanted the money to be deposited in the form of a digital currency called Bitcoin. According to the indictment, he then put out further messages on a website called Pastebin.com.

Brown claimed he hacked into the internal computer network of PricewaterhouseCoopers to get the tax returns. Prosecutors say that never happened.

A Justice Department spokesman says Brown is not in custody as of Wednesday night.

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