Group claims they hacked Franklin company, stole Romney's tax re - WSMV Channel 4

Group claims they hacked Franklin company, stole Romney's tax records

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FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee company is at the center of a mystery that could turn the political race upside down. The Secret Service wants to know if a group hacked into Price Waterhouse Cooper's computer system in Franklin and got Mitt Romney's tax records.

"Right through here and it was just lying on the floor there," Peter Burr recalled.

When Burr, chair of Williamson County's Democratic Office, first read the letter inside a padded envelope dropped off last Thursday, Burr said, "I thought it was probably a scam."

But he quickly realized if true, it could turn the presidential race upside down. Inside the package was a black thumb drive and copy of a letter claiming the sender hacked into a computer at Price Waterhouse Coopers' Franklin office Aug. 25. Burr said the letter further alleged, "They have obtained through this source tax documents of Mitt Romney and Ann Romney."

The potentially include 1040 tax returns from before 2010, records Romney's camp has refused to release. The alleged hacker or hackers claim if the office doesn't cough up $1 million in "Bitcoins" or online currency by Sept. 28, they'll go release the records to the media. That same letter was posted on Pastebin.com, an online bulletin board of sorts for text and information.

"I didn't take it too seriously because it was hand written and misspelled it didn't seem professional."

Jean Barwick, executive director of Williamson County's Republican Office, also received the same package last Friday.

Barwick explained, "It seemed unusual that they would ask a local county party for $1 million. But if it's bigger than that, why would they only ask for a million?"

The Secret Service picked up the packages from both parties just after noon Wednesday just moments before our interviews. We went by Price Waterhouse Wednesday to see if there's any truth to the claims. The receptionist referred us to a person in their New York office who emailed us this statement, reading in part:

"We are working closely with the United States Secret Service, and at this time there is no evidence that our systems have been compromised."

The folks at Price Waterhouse are wondering, if this is true, how was the hacker able to access PWC's computer system? If you believe the letter, a gentleman who works in the building let them up to the third floor. From there they went down to an empty office on the second floor and copied Romney's tax records. According to the letter, they even scanned a copy of the presidential candidate's signature. So far there's no proof that any of this actually took place.

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