Hacker to Feds: Pay Me 28K Bitcoins, 'You Lying Subhuman Garbage'

By Brett Snider, Esq. on May 22, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The hacker known as "weev," whose conviction was recently overturned, has sent a message to the government: "PAY ME MY MONEY, YOU LYING SUBHUMAN GARBAGE."

Andrew "weev" Auernheimer was released from federal prison a month ago, and now he wants payment for the time he spent in custody. TechCrunch reports that "weev" tweeted out his "invoice" to the federal government for 28,296 Bitcoins, and announced that he would be "filing liens upon their properties."

Is "weev" just a disgruntled hacker or is he on to something?

Hacker's Conviction Vacated by Federal Court

Auernheimer was originally sentenced to serve 41 months in federal prison for helping leak the email addresses of more than 100,000 iPad users. He was accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for gaining unauthorized access to AT&T's iPad registration database.

But "weev" argued that the information was essentially public -- if you knew where to look. In his appeal, he argued he couldn't be convicted for unauthorized access since AT&T hadn't password-protected the information. Is it really "hacking" when the information is available just by knowing the right address?

The appellate court dodged this more difficult question and vacated his conviction on a bit of a technicality. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals couldn't find enough connection between the crime and the place where he was prosecuted (New Jersey) to uphold his conviction. So Auernheimer's conviction was thrown out, and he was set free after serving 38 months in custody.

Restitution Demanded in Bitcoins

Victims of criminal action can often obtain restitution from convicts as a way of making the victims whole again. In the civil courts, restitution can also be ordered when a defendant has unlawfully gained some value or enrichment that should have gone to the plaintiff.

Here, "weev" argues that the government owes him 28,296 Bitcoins in restitution for his time spent in the slammer. He bases this sum on his hourly billing rate of 1 Bitcoin per hour, multiplied by the 1,179 days he was incarcerated. Based on the current conversion rate to U.S. currency, Auernheimer is essentially asking for almost $14 million dollars.

However, winning on a criminal appeal doesn't necessarily entitle you to millions. It entitles you to be free. For some perspective, a man who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit received only $6.4 million from New York City.

Perhaps "weev" expects to get more for being on Twitter.

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