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Did Someone Really Steal Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns From PwC’s Franklin, Tennessee Office?

By now you've probably heard that an anonymous group – no, likely not The Anonymous – is claiming they got into PwC's Franklin, Tennessee office and nabbed Romney's tax returns, which they will apparently release September 28th unless they're given $1,000,000 USD (or, alternatively, "one milllllion dollars") in Bitcoins before that date. If someone desperate to see the returns cares to pay $1,000,000 USD in Bitcoins instead, the alleged thieves claim they are prepared to release the returns sooner should they receive the money. PwC is denying that any breach has occurred.

The claim, first posted by Nashville's City Paper, is obviously pretty wild. You mean some dudes just kind of snuck into this Suite 260 and magically grabbed Romney's tax returns? Sure, okay, that totally seems likely! Did they wear little harnesses when they dropped down from the ceiling too?

Romney's 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the 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. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney's tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.

The group will release all available files to the public on the 28 of September, 2012.

Okay, really now? One millllion dollars? Gee, wasn't that totally a movie?

Apparently the folks who nabbed Romney's returns wrote directly to PwC, expecting them to pony up that $1,000,000. And maybe fire some people, whatever:

Dear PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Using your Office @ 830 Crescent Centre Drive, Suite 260, Franklin, TN 37067  Telephone: [1] (615) 503-2860 we were able to gain access to your network file servers and copy over the tax documents for one Willard M Romney and Ann D Romney. We are sure that once you figure out where the security breach was, some people will probably get fired but that is not our concern.
All major news media outlets are going to be sent an encrypted copy of the most recent tax years that your company had on file since you did not have them all in a convenient electronic form. The years before 2010 will be of great interest to many. If the parties interested do not want the encrypted key released to the public to unlock these documents on September 28 of this year then payment will be necessary.
The deal is quite simple. Convert $1,000,000 USD to Bitcoins (Google if if [sic] you need a lesson on what Bitcoin is) using the various markets available out in the world for buying. Transfer the Bitcoins gathered to the Bitcoin address listed below. It does not matter if small amounts or one large amount is transferred, as long as the final value of the Bitcoins is equal to $1,000,000 USD at the time when it is finished. The keys to unlock the data will be purged and what ever is inside the documents will remain a secret forever.
Failure to do this before September 28, the entire world will be allowed to view the documents with a publicly released key to unlock everything.
PwC released the following statement just moments ago:
We are aware of the allegations that have been made regarding improper access to our systems.  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.

We'll keep an eye on this, but don't hold your breath for a big data dump on September 28th. If you have more information on this story, email us.