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.