According to a report released on 15th August, Martin Marsich, a 25-year-old Serbian-Italian national was taken to Federal Court for a hearing. He was accused of allegedly hacking into the private network and getting access to 25000 accounts of customers who buy items at the store for use in video games.
Marsich was arrested for intentionally accessing a protected computer to get information of individuals for private financial gain. The hack began on 24th September, 2017, but Electronic Arts [EA] realized that its systems had been compromised only on 25th March, 2018.
Marsich was accused of using a developer software designed to let two apps communicate. He gained access to a secret key that only EA possessed, resulting in him tampering with EA’s systems and altering their databases. According to FBI’s affidavit, Electronic Arts informed the FBI that it suspects the hacker sold the stolen accounts over the dark web or online black markets. The Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation blamed Marsich for infiltrating Redwood City video game company, Electronic Arts in San Fransisco [SFO], California and stealing roughly $324,000 worth of digital goods, according to court documents.
Federal Judge Jaqueline Corley ordered Marsich to pay $750,000 in Bitcoin [BTC] or any other cryptocurrency as a compensation for his bail. Cryptocurrencies have become so prevalent online but Marsich, federal authorities, and the court were in a dilemma when they realized the difficulties in using digital currency in the real world. They were concerned about selling a large stash of small and lightly traded coins which could have caused the value of the currency to fluctuate dramatically.
Unfortunately, due to liability issues, the FBI could not take possession of the cryptocurrency even though part of it would be used for restitution to Electronic Arts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Knight spoke about her conversation with the district council and that they had shown no interest in granting bail in exchange for cryptocurrencies.
The federal authorities shifted gears after setting up the bail which included creating a cryptocurrency wallet to facilitate the transfer. They reversed the following week’s decision and said it was not going to accept digital coins as collateral. Ultimately, the prosecutors and the defense came to a conclusion by demanding Marsich to sell $200,000 worth of his cryptocurrency with the help of a broker and secure his bail. According to court documents, it is not clear whether the transfer has occurred yet.
According to an audio recording of the proceedings obtained by MarketWatch assistant U.S. attorney Ben Kingsley said on the August 9th court hearing:
“My sense is that it’s happened before, but it’s not the most common thing, so it might take a couple of days to get set up, By then we should have the [cryptocurrency] wallet set up and we can do the transaction with the agents present.”
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