California Federal Court Tells Hacker to Pay $750,000 Bail in Crypto

Elikem Kofi Attah
  • A 25-year-old alleged hacker has been told to pay his $750,000 bail in "bitcoin or any cryptocurrency."
  • The court allowed him to pay in crypto as the payment's goal isn't to retain value, but to get him to show up.

Martin Marsich, a 25-year-old man of Serbian and Italian nationality living in Udine, Italy was arrested on August 8. According to the Daily Post, Marsich is being accused of hacking popular video game company Electronic Arts (EA).

On August 16, when he appeared in a federal court in San Francisco, Marsich was directed by judge Jacqueline Corley to pay $750,000 in “Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency” so he could be moved to a halfway house.

The accused is said to have deliberately given himself access to 25,000 customer accounts by hacking into EA’s computer network. While in control of customer accounts, Marsich could reportedly make purchases of items meant to be used in video games.

Two charges were leveled against Marsich as a result. These were related to purposefully gaining access to a secured computer to get information for private financial gain, and accessing it with intention to defraud.

Paying in Crypto

When asked if the local Superior Court accepted cryptocurrencies, Steve Wagstaffe, district attorney of San Mateo county, stated he had never heard of any case where the bail was paid in crypto.

I can’t believe they do. I think they’re strictly certified checks and currency. I think they take only greenbacks.

However, US Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons was confident federal court judges had permitted bail payments in crypto before. He added that bail could be paid for in various means, not only cash.

Simmons didn’t see the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies as a concern, since the purpose of the bail is to get the accused to show up in court and not to avoid losing value.

Martin Marsich could spend up to five years behind bars and pay a fine of $250,000 if found guilty of both charges. He’ll also likely have to return anything of value he might have taken in the process of breaking into EA’s computer systems.

The accused is expected to confirm, on the same day, that the $750,000 bail has been transferred in crypto.