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Computer Fiends Kidnap Romney’s 1040 Forms, Demand Fake Nerd Money For Ransom

Global Thermonuclear War is much more fun than Tic-Tac-ToeMitt Romney’s tax returns: Where are they??? If you have been following the presidential campaign to this point, in which Barack Obama’s birth certificate and Mitt Romney’s tax returns have battled it out for the title of Most Important Boring Government Document In History, you’ve probably assumed that Romney long ago encased these dangerous pieces of paper in lead and then buried them hundreds of feet below is New Hampshire mansion-fortress. But this “savvy businessman” decided to outsource his 1040-storage to the more efficient private sector: if PriceWaterhouseCoopers can keep Oscar votes secret, surely they can keep prying eyes away from Mitt’s financial information, right? EXCEPT some cyber-ruffians apparently just walked into a PWC office and stone cold downloaded the forms, whoops! Now they want … one million dollars, or they’ll release them. And they want a million dollars in a currency that doesn’t even exist!

So some dastardly fiends put a very interesting post on a secret anonymous fire-sharing site! (The Nashville City Paper has the scoop and we will link to them because we are afraid going to the original site will give our computer cyber-herpes.) Basically they said they snuck into PWC’s Franklin, Tennessee, office and downloaded all of Mitt’s tax forms, then sent encrypted versions of the forms to a bunch of media outlets and Democratic party headquarters, and if nobody pays them $1 million by September 28, they’ll send the keys to decrypt all the delicious forms. Conversely, if someone who wants the forms released ponies up $1M first, they’ll release them as soon as they get the money. Bidding war! “The years before 2010 will be of great interest to many,” say the hacker-sneaks.

The best part of this caper is that the 1040nappers are demanding their ransom in Bitcoins, which, if you don’t know what that is (and you probably don’t), is a techno-utopian project that aims to create a non-fiat, non-government-backed, anonymous online means of exchanging cash, and, if that description makes you think that Ron Paul acolytes might be interested in, you would be totally right! You can learn more at the Bitcoin Wikipedia article, which is hilariously detailed, obviously.

Anyway, no major media outlets have reported receiving mysterious encrypted hard drives, nor are there any signs of nuclear-level freakouts over at Romney campaign HQ, so probably this anonymous claim posted on a weird web site for file sharers is totally fake! But just in case, you should PayPal us tons of money so we can buy the 1040s and post them on Wonkette as a WORLD EXCLUSIVE. (Haha, just kidding, Wonkette would not pay dirty ransom money, we would just use your cash to buy booze.) [Nashville City Paper]

About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger
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      1. Isyaignert

        Here's my favorite Fabulous Furry Freak Bros. line "Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope." –Freewheelin' Franklin

    1. MittBorg

      You'd think. But these louts probly don't know the best dealers, so they'd probly get ripped off and then WE'd feel bad because it was OUR munniez.

    2. LastGasp

      The 1040nappers are asking for the ransom to be paid in Bitcoins, which means they're probably planning to buy a million dollars worth of drugs from some of those super-secret underground drug websites.

      Maybe they'll share that giant stash of dope.

      1. MittBorg

        We *need* to find out who they are PRONTO!

        For some reason this strikes me as a CarlHiaasenesque plot introduction. Within 24 hours, the police chiefs of every town, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and every drug dealer in the world will be looking for that stash.

    3. Guppy

      Apparently, there are motels in the Charlotte area that deliver both drugs and prostitutes right to your door!

    1. Omophagist

      Let's just say the FBI will be able to track them down by looking at some Farmville farms on Facebook that are suddenly a lot more opulent.

      1. EatsBabyDingos

        They fell in a whale with Jonas and there was only one direction out. Yes, I have teenage daughters.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      That is, flat out, one of the best thrillers I've ever read. An extraordinary book! No world takeover, no super hero killing professional assassins, no high tech weapons. Just real people in the real world.

      A great "beach book!"

    1. KeepFnThatChicken

      All I've ever known that company to protect was the Oscar results, and who the fuck cares about that.

      1. Serolf_Divad

        The also protect the envelope containing the results of the presidential elections, given to them in March of that year by the Illuminati.

          1. KeepFnThatChicken

            Reverse that. They meet in May/June, and decide who wins at that meeting. PWC then holds the envelope for nine months.

  1. Ruhe

    What's the current Bit-coin to hobo-bean exchange rate? I'm guessing that might be important to know at some point.

          1. Lascauxcaveman

            I've always had a yen for seashells. My friends Mark and Franc say that's not a bad way to collect what euro'd.

          2. eggsacklywright

            Arrght, the right margin is closing in. Feeling claustrophobic. Over the fiscal cliff we go….

  2. BaldarTFlagass

    Do the Mormons have a Golem or something similar? These guys should be careful. Or worse yet, Mitt might put Chuck Norris on the case.

        1. emmelemm

          Ha! I didn't even think of that! I've just seen pics of pigs in their galoshes before and thought they were adorable.

  3. hagajim

    I don't understand why they just didn't steal the winners of next years Oscars….the fix is already in right? I heard that DeSouza movie is gonna win best bullshit documentary.

  4. Baconzgood

    "Bitcoin uses cryptographic technologies and a network of computing power to enable users to make and verify irreversible, instant[citation needed] online Bitcoin payments, without an obligation to…"

    That's where I nodded off.

  5. MissTaken

    then sent encrypted versions of the forms to a bunch of media outlets and Democratic party headquarters, and if nobody pays them $1 million by September 28, they’ll send the keys to decrypt all the delicious forms.

    Finding these tax-nappers should be easy for the FBI. Just trace the crumbs of Cheetos and scent of middle-aged virginity to their mother's basement.

        1. SorosBot

          Ew; you know a middle-aged virgin would be extra pathetic, really having no idea what he or she is doing. Would probably use too much teeth too.

    1. sewollef

      The FBI? I wouldn't trust them to find their own arse with both hands.

      Seems in an unrelated, but suspiciously maybe connected kinda way, AntiSec hacking group has hacked into an FBI agent's Dell laptop and stolen 12 million computer UDIDs* stored on his HD.


        1. sewollef

          The big question is, what was the FBI doing with all these IDs in the first place?

          And of course, as of today, the FBI are denying they even had the data, describing the story as "totally false".

          Shades of NSA wire-tapping….

          1. Arborista

            Apple is denying they gave info to the FBI, the FBI is denying that a) they have these ID's stored and b) that their databases were hacked. They said the leaked ID's might just be made-up numbers in a UDID format so I'd be really interested if anyone finds their UDID on the list.

            At this point, I'm kinda agnostic, but I'm a Mac user (desktop computer, no "devices") so I'm interested in hearing more about how this story plays out.

      1. MosesInvests

        Texas Ranger outside the Koresh compound in Waco, TX, as quoted by Molly Ivins (of blessed memory):
        "The three most overrated things in the world are young p*ssy, Mack trucks and the FBI."

    2. BoatOfVelociraptors

      You don't have to be alive to have a website publish a key. The scenario is thus. Here is a wad of data that can be unlocked with this key. Pay the org a million bucks and the key stays safe with the org. Did I mention The org has hundreds of copies of the key around the planet, that will advertise themselves if the interested entity doesn't get paid?

      Leveraged buyout 2.0

  6. BaldarTFlagass

    If they get the payment in bitcoins, will they have to pay taxes on their windfall? Mitt Romney wants to know.

  7. KeepFnThatChicken

    please, sweet jesus, let them have spoofed their MAC address, gone through a proxy, and done this from a McDonald's.

  8. BaldarTFlagass

    I wonder if these guys ever saw a movie called Charlie Varrick. They might not know with whom they fuck.

  9. owhatever

    Do you have Bitcoins in your portfolio? Bitcoins have increased in value every minute. Call us at BitcoinLine to learn how you can profit from this guaranteed investment strategy and not be left for the Death Panels of Obamacare. Bitcoins. Now more than ever.

  10. PuckStopsHere

    You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads! And ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

  11. Goonemeritus

    I don’t think spending the entire million on booze is really advisable. Any finical advisor worth his salt would recommend diversifying with portions in fungible assets like a couple of cans of mixed nuts and maybe some Chex-mix.

  12. GeorgiaBurning

    Bitcoins are a cross of Ron Paul funny money, paypal, and linden dollars. Outside of that cheesy billboard on Lawrence Expressway, this is the best publicity bitcoins have gotten. Their chief uses were status for libertarian nerds and buying bad t-shirts. Now getting Mittens tax papers? cool…

  13. Crank_Tango

    I often get paid in euros, which kinda sucks now that the euro is tanking, so what I need to do is find another currency. I am wondering what the conversion rates are between bitcoin, euros, dollars, ameros, hobo beans, french francs, whore diamonds and pound sterling? Is there an app for that?

    1. Tundra Grifter


      Maybe you need to invest in a couple of those old Ron Paul survival packs – with Krugerrands, etc.

        1. Tundra Grifter


          If you don't like that you're probably a Republican. They hate any sign of green shoots.

          Black and brown shoots they're down with.

    2. Goonemeritus

      The Father of a good friend immigrated to the US from Serbia through GB after WWII. He was a fairly prominent engineer and he took a job without really understanding the value of his paycheck. When his first paycheck arrived his friend drove him to the grocery store to show him what it would buy. Imagine his delight when he discovered his weekly check was the equivalent of 32 average size turkeys. My wife still likes to convert are annual total compensation into turkeys to this day.

      1. Crank_Tango

        Wow. I bet you only really need about 1 turkey a week, and the rest is just…wait for it…gravy.

      2. Tundra Grifter


        The Economist newspaper used to compare how different nations were doing with a Big Mac index. And they were serious about it.

    3. prommie

      Once upon a time it was 7 francs to the dollar and an amazing four-course lunch, with a carafe of the local wine, too, could be had for like 20 francs. And this isn't ancient history, this was like, life under Clinton!

      1. Crank_Tango

        I remember about 6 something before I came back to the states after my semester in Paris in 93. I can still hear the voice of the sandwiche grec man saying "very good! blill clinton! chili sauce!"

      2. MittBorg

        Life under Clinton IS ancient history. I remember those wonderful years. Between the two of us, we were making a very tidy sum indeed, working at jobs we loved, where we were highly-compensated, highly-respected, and treated like humans. Half the companies I used to work for have either gone under or merged into something unrecognizable, the same ppl who used to shower us with booze and barbecue on Fridays (Beer Bash Fridays!) now expect us to make international conference calls FROM HOME during our supposed nonwork time, and if you don't work one or both weekend days, you're considered a slacker.

        ETA: And nobody's gotten a raise in years. Like, ten.

    4. Serolf_Divad

      1 Euro –> 3 cans of hobo beans –> 1 Rambo survival knife (needle, thread and waterproof matches missing) –> 6 Ameros –> 2 autographed Ron Paul Reports from the early 1980's –> 1 freeze dried survival ration (hamburger steak & mashed potatos) –> 2 Playboy magazines circa 1988 (fair condition) –> 2 packs of Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Astronaut Ice Cream (1 strawberry, 1 neapolitan) –> 5 Bitcoins.

  14. BaldarTFlagass

    There was a big-ass article on these bitcoin things in the New Yorker a couple years back. It confused me worse than some of their cartoons.

  15. JustPixelz

    I don't know what "bitcoins" are, but I'm confident Romney has some (millions!) in a bank account somewhere.

  16. MissTaken

    I was convinced the rLOVElution blimp was the apex of nerd-dom. But I see this crop of nerds have elevated the nerd bar to new heights. Well played nerds, well played.

    1. prommie

      Gawker says you can safely order high-end Canadian hydroponic herb and pay with bitcoins. Herbs, cooking herbs, what the hell did you think I was talking about?

  17. IceCreamEmpress

    OMG Bitcoins! Or "RonPaulFunBux", as some genius on SomethingAwful dubbed them.

    The good news is that if the haxx0rs got the Bitcoins, someone else would just steal them. Yesterday, the BitCoin community was rocked by the announcement that someone had stolen all the fake monies from a new "exchange". This happens about every two weeks.

    Of course, the BitCoin community is still reeling from the default of the largest "bank" I.e. Ponzi scheme, with several hundred thousand of the libertarian Pogs (currently selling for about $10 US) in the wind.

    Maybe I should write a post for you guys about BitCoin? I have been following it intensely because it delivers the Schadenfreude/Fremdschaemen combo I so love.

    1. Terry

      Please do.

      I thought the hard core Libertarians were going to relocate to a floating city out in international waters, beyond the reach of government…until they send an SOS call to the Coast Guard, of course.

      1. Whollyholeyholy

        Guaranteed way to ward off a bad mood: imagine all the realistic potential endings to Antisocial Island.

        Please let this be a thing that happens during my lifetime.

    2. AbandonHope_

      "RonPaulFunBux" is great, though I have to admit I like "Libertarian Pogs" too.

      This would actually be a fun way to screw with Bitcoins: buy a few at a time, and then delete them. Get a few thousand people to do that every month or so. Once a Bitcoin is gone, it's gone for good, so you'll keep depleting the available supply. Of course the price per coin would go up as you did this, so eventually it would become unfeasible… but at the same time the entry cost of obtaining Bitcoins will be too high. Those who are hoarding Bitcoins will be loathe to do anything with them for fear of losing their precious, precious wealth… but if nobody actually uses a currency for transactions, is it really a currency?

      This emperor has no clothes, and is trying to sell those nonexistent coins with nonexistent money.

    1. Terry

      As much as I detest Hustler, I have to say that I do root for Larry Flynt when he makes a foray into politics.

  18. fartknocker

    So how much is Rafalca's tax deduction in bitcoins because I looked at the Wikipedia page and I can't figure out the exchange rate.

  19. IceCreamEmpress

    Speaking of Schadenfreude, I'm sure I'm not the only Wonketteer to be delighted that the Oogieloves was the biggest flop ever.

    I think "TruckNutz! The Movie" would have done better.

    1. SorosBot

      I mentioned it yesterday! And it's amazing; over a four-day weekend it averaged only slightly over two hundred per screen, meaning there an average of under one person per showing. Awesomely horrible.

    2. MittBorg

      The very *name* itself gives me the oogieboogles. So much saccharine packed into 90 minutes of eye-injuring dayglo colours and too pweshusly twee "aht" must surely make for a giant technicolour yawn and immediate diabetic coma.

      1. AbandonHope_

        Oh, there are good parts to it, but overall… the main thing that gets me is that those who got in "on the ground floor", so to speak, have the most Bitcoins because it was the easiest to "mine" them back then; it is now literally a million times more difficult to get them. "So what," proponents say, "when the supply runs out nobody will be mining anyway, everything will be done via transactions the way any other currency is." Except that now you have a bunch of multi-millionaires who got rich simply because they were some of the first people to mine. So of course the early Bitcoin proponents want the currency to succeed; they have the most to gain.

        Secondly, there's a finite amount of Bitcoins, which is one of the things proponents like — after all, this way it isn't a fiat currency. Except that if you delete a Bitcoin wallet, or irreversibly lose the password, et cetera, those Bitcoins are gone. Forever. And the fact of the matter is that things get deleted all the time. So, yeah, you won't get inflation due to an increasing money supply; you'll get deflation due to a shrinking one. But, hell, this is what the Randians want, right? After all, this just means that all the folks who are super-careful about guarding their wealth hoards get richer and richer and more and more Coins are permanently lost.

        1. Terry

          The problem with libertarianism is that the basic concepts sound fine when limited to a sentence or two. As soon as those asshats start to discuss them in depth, particularly the extent to which they'd take them, it turns into narcissistic and mean spirited fantasy.

          1. AbandonHope_

            True, and whenever serious flaws are uncovered in their theories, they are just hand-waved away as something that will be fixed by "the invisible hand". Like that whole "early adopters have the most Coins" thing. I mean, Jesus, if by some Randian magic Bitcoins did become a viable currency, you have a ready-made aristocracy, right there! Might as well break out the surveyors' tools and start parceling the land off into fiefdoms!

  20. JoeHoya

    So, let me get this straight. Their demand is this: If you do not give me $1 million for this information by Sept. 28, I will give it to you for free.

    Got it.

    1. Terry

      Murdoch will buy them and use them for even greater leverage over Romney. Mitt's bought and paid for, whether he wants to admit it or not.

  21. BoatOfVelociraptors

    The irony of Romney getting owned is just so gravitational. It collapses in upon itself, creating a singularity of hilarity.

  22. finette_

    fire-sharing site

    Someone has finally perfected remote flamethrower technology to use on stupids and trolls? YESSSSS.

    1. MissTaken

      And here I thought a fire-sharing site was the airport bathroom you catch herpes from during the GOP convention.

  23. MittBorg

    OK, BeccaLou, this >> THIS story is fucking TAILOR-MADE for the Wonketz. I shall be crushed and heartbroken if you do not send your trusty reportrixes to cover it forthwith.

    Srsly. WTF is a guy in AR doing with a "small preserved alligator head"? And how small can an alligator head BE? Also too why is the State legislator not charged with anything despite the fight CLEARLY being mutual?

    1. Terry

      As a former resident of the State of Louisiana, I attest to the fact that many people keep dried alligator heads as decorative items. A few of these people are wildlife biologists or run nature centers. Most, however, keep the dried gator heads just because the heads look way cool.

      1. MittBorg

        Not to nitpick or nuthin', but I'm kinda guessing that gator heads mostly look WAY cool to other gators, and mostly when they're still attached to, you know, the rest of the gator. And sure, I can understand biologists or naturalists being interested in having one lying around, but we're talking *Republican* here, you know, Science is an Instrument of Teh Debbil? So I'm just wondering why the guy would have one around the house a-tall, especially since his long-term paramour appears to be a woman of mighty tempers, just the sort, one would be inclined to think, who might avail herself of a head that was, as it were, to hand, for the sole purpose of clobbering another. Head, that is. Although, as TribecaMike implies, they tactfully do not mention *which* head sustained the injury.

  24. RRoccoco

    Harry Reid has some serious covert op skills. And the Bitcoin bit–just brilliant! You can't pay what you never had! Can't wait for Sept 29.

  25. Antispandex

    "(Haha, just kidding, Wonkette would not pay dirty ransom money, we would just use your cash to buy booze.)"

    A much better use of your bitcoins. I think we can all guess why Mitters hasn't released his tax records.

  26. poorgradstudent

    It would be strangely fitting for the Romney campaign to go down as a result of "Revenge of the Nerds"-esque shenanigans. Hopefully it will mean for sure that Ted McGinley will play Mittens in the inevitable bio-pic.

    1. IceCreamEmpress

      Showkiller Ted would be perfect casting, and hopefully his curse would extend even unto the Mittens Show.

  27. lulzmonger

    Hmm, talk about Conundrum City: cough up a cool million or wait three whole weeks, cough up a cool million or wait three whole weeks, cough up a cool million or wait three whole weeks … DAMN THIS IS A TOUGH ONE ALRIGHT.

  28. Andrew Drinker

    Bitcoins are basically the cyber version of:

    "*wipes drool from mouth* I'll give you 4300 gold 75 silver 49 copper for your [Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker]!!!!"

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