07/19/2019 10:33 EDT | Updated 07/19/2019 10:36 EDT

Canadian Hacker Barred From Entering U.S. To Face Felony Charges

U.S. authorities didn’t process the paperwork necessary for Vasile Mereacre's round-trip travel.

Lucas Oleniuk via Getty Images
File photo of pre-clearance security checkpoint at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

OTTAWA — A Canadian hacker facing a criminal trial in the United States is stuck at his parents’ Ontario house due to a technicality after being granted permission to return home briefly for medical treatment.

His pretrial conditions restrict his movements to the Southern District of Florida.

According to court documents, Vasile Mereacre was also visiting his family and was scheduled to return to Florida last week, but U.S. authorities didn’t complete the paperwork necessary for his round-trip travel.

He was barred from getting on his Florida-bound flight last week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) because of his pending American criminal trial. The July 9 court filing notes that Mereacre “did not possess a valid entry document.”

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“In order to return to the United States, the defendant must obtain a document from CBP known as a ‘Significant Public Benefit Parole,”’ reads the court filing. 

Magistrate Judge Virginia DeMarchi ordered Mereacre stay at his parents’ house “while the U.S. government obtains permission for him to return to the Southern District of Florida.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been called in to expedite Mereacre’s temporary admission into the U.S., according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The court confirmed with HuffPost Canada Wednesday that the necessary entry document has yet to be issued that would allow Mereacre to return to the U.S. to wait for a trial.

Mereacre’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

In the meantime, Mereacre is confined to his parents’ Bradford, Ont. home until the paperwork clears — a process that could take up to 30 days.

The Toronto man was indicted last year for allegedly stealing confidential information of more than 90,000 Lynda users, a LinkedIn-owned company that specializes in educational videos.

Mereacre, along with two others, face felony charges that include attempted extortion. They asked LinkedIn for a “huge reward” in exchange for not releasing the stolen data in late 2016.

It was the second major breach he allegedly had a role in within a span of a few months. 

Mereacre is also accused of having a role in another data hack stealing data from Uber in the same year. That privacy breach affected up to 57 million users of the ride-hailing app.