Hackers Claim Elaborate Heist of Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns, Want $1 Million

By
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers his nomination acceptance speech during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2012 Getty Images

Anonymous-affiliated hackers have come out with their second dubious security breach of the week, alleging they obtained Mitt Romney's top-secret tax returns from the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to entirely unsubstantiated and sloppily written documents, the records were stolen, like in a Bourne movie, "by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the [PwC] building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied." The imaginative hackers want $1 million, payable in the Internet currency Bitcoins, to either rush the (supposedly) imminent release of the documents or keep them private.

All told, the exercise sounds more like an attempt to test just how far the lulz-loving group can push their tall tales and still be taken seriously. Apparently a real-life break-in and Dr. Evil–ish ransom demands are not too far: While PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a statement, "There is no evidence that our systems have been compromised or that there was any unauthorized access to the data in question," the company did note, "We are working closely with the United States Secret Service."

The hackers allegedly mailed flash drives containing encrypted versions of the files to the Democratic and Republican parties in Williamson County, Tennessee, the Nashville City Paper reports. "We opened it and found a typewritten sheet of paper. I almost threw it out. The only thing missing was a Nigerian prince," said the local Democratic chairman. "It seems like it's someone looking for some gullible fool, but who knows?" The Secret Service has since confiscated the evidence.

It may be a massive waste of time, but it beats hanging out with Ted Nugent.