25-year-old Serbian and Italian citizen Martin Marisch was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on August 8 and charged with an alleged hack of Electronic Art’s gaming servers that resulted in the theft of roughly $324,000 of EA’s in-game currency. On Thursday, a federal court judged ruled that he could be released to a halfway house while awaiting trial, if he paid $750,000 bail using Bitcoin or some other form of cryptocurrency.
According to Palo Alto’s local Daily Post, the bail terms are not as unusual as some might think. The Post quoted U.S Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons, who acknowledged that judges have a great deal of latitude when it comes to bail:
“It really is quite broad. The judge could order just about anything. What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.”
Simmons also noted that the order could be subject to change if the assets in question experienced a major change in value, since the parties would probably notify the court of any dramatic fluctuation in value. “The idea is to get him to court, not necessarily to maintain the value of any particular asset,” he said.
A press release from the Department of Justice last week reported that Marisch has been 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.”
The Daily Post report notes that a conviction could leave the defendant facing up to five years in prison, possible restitution, and a $250,000 fine “for each violation.”
Marisch is expected to be in court again on Monday for confirmation of the bail posting. Additional court dates will be scheduled during that appearance.