Government Employee Faces Jail for Installing Crypto Miners Inside Office Walls

September 14, 2021, 9:45 AM AEST - 2 weeks ago

An IT operations supervisor in New York state is being prosecuted for allegedly installing BTC mining rigs and other devices inside government offices, costing his Long Island civic employer thousands of dollars in electricity, according to a report last week by The New York Times.

Over $6,000 in Electricity Bills

Christopher Naples, 42, allegedly hid 46 mining devices in various areas in the Suffolk County Center in Riverhead. The Long Island resident now faces up to 15 years in jail for grand larceny, official misconduct, public corruption and computer trespass.

The Suffolk County Center now has to pay more than US$6,000 in restitution for the power used, but it’s likely Naples has cost the county thousands more as another 36 machines were later discovered.

Timothy D. Sini, the Suffolk County district attorney, said that the first 10 mining rigs discovered had been operating since early February, some of them hidden in at least six rooms – including beneath floorboards and in an unused electrical panel.

Mining cryptocurrency requires an enormous amount of resources, and miners have to navigate how to cover all of those electricity and cooling costs. [Naples] found a way to do it; unfortunately, it was on the backs of taxpayers.

Timothy D. Sini, district attorney, Suffolk County

Sini told The New York Times that Naples placed so many mining rigs inside the building that it required an “unusual level of expertise from investigators” to discover them. Several employees even complained about slow internet speeds and an unusual rise in temperature. Once the machines were removed, the temperature dropped by more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit (6.6ºC).

Miners Forced to Emigrate as Countries Tighten Mining Regulations

Mining cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin consumes a lot of electricity and can even cause massive power outages. Such was the case in Iran, where in June the government confiscated over 45,000 mining rigs due to high energy consumption sparking power outages across the country.

Other countries like China have been more aggressive toward miners. As Crypto News Australia reported, also in June, China’s State Council released a document saying it would “crack down on bitcoin mining and trading activities” in order to “prevent possible financial risks”.

As a consequence, miners were forced to set up shop overseas to continue their operations in more receptive environments.

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