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Press Release

Hacker Charged With Illegally Accessing Computer Network Of Bay Area Company

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant arrested at SFO while boarding a flight for Serbia.

SAN FRANCISCO – Martin Marsich made an initial appearance today on a criminal complaint charging him with crimes related to the illegal intrusion of the computer network of a Bay Area video-game company, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. 

The allegations against Marsich, 25, whose last known residence was in Udine, Italy, and who possessed passports from both Serbia and Italy, are set out in an affidavit by an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation filed this morning in connection with the criminal complaint.  According to the affidavit, on March 25, 2018, a video-game company headquartered in the Bay Area discovered that an individual had illegally accessed its internal computer network and granted access to parts of the company’s systems.  The intruder, later identified as Marsich, gained access to 25,000 accounts that allow customers to purchase items for use in video games. 

In addition, Marsich allegedly used some of the information he obtained from the computer system to obtain in-game currency, used to buy and sell in-game items. The complaint further alleges Marsich sold access to the on-line game on black-market websites. After making the discovery of the intrusion, the company allegedly closed the stolen accounts and suffered a loss of approximately $324,000.  

The complaint charges Marsich with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C) and (c)(1)(B)(i), and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4).

Marsich was arrested at San Francisco International Airport last night and made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco today. 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.  Magistrate Judge Corley set Marsich’s next court appearance for August 13, 2018, to confirm the posting of the cryptocurrency and to set further dates in the case. 

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate for each violation.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Knight is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated August 13, 2018