Accused EA Hacker Ordered To Pay Bail In Cryptocurrency

Crime, News | August 20, 2018 By:

A US federal judge has ordered a Serbian and Italian national who allegedly hacked the computer network of video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) to post bail using cryptocurrency.

According to an official statement by the US Attorney’s Office, Martin Marsich, whose last known residence was in Udine, Italy, and who possessed passports from both Serbia and Italy, had illegally accessed EA’s internal computer network and granted access to parts of the company’s systems. Marsich reportedly gained access to 25,000 accounts that allow customers to purchase in-game items.

Marsich allegedly used stolen information to buy and sell in-game items. Marsich is also accused of selling access to the accounts on black market websites. After making the discovery of the intrusion, EA allegedly closed the stolen accounts and suffered a loss of approximately $324,000.

Marsich, who was arrested in San Francisco National Airport on August 8, made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on August 9. He was charged with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain, and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value.

After the hearing, Magistrate Judge Corley ordered Marsich released to a half-way house on the condition that he post the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail. However, during the August 13 hearing, attorney Susan Knight said the FBI could not take possession of the cryptocurrency even though part of it would be used for restitution to EA, due to liability issues.

“I had extended conversations with EA’s district counsel and they refused to accept it, to have it as part of a bond and part of forfeiture,” Knight said.

Masich’s lawyer argued that selling off a $750,000 stake would have the potential to crash the price. The prosecutors and the defense ultimately agreed that Marsich would sell $200,000 worth of his cryptocurrency via a broker to secure his bail.