Illegal Crypto Mining Syndicate Busted
by Tom Nyarunda
Police in Massachusetts have charged a civic employee for setting up a scheme for illegal crypto mining in a small crawl space under a local school. Police alleged that 39-year-old Nadeam Nahas unlawfully attached his bank of computers to the electrical system at Cohasset Middle High School, which is at least 10 miles out of Boston.
According to court documents, the criminal crypto-mining scheme comprised 11 computers and a multifaceted cooling system that added $17,500 to the school’s electricity bills. Authorities believe Nahas ran his crawl space mine from April to December 2021, when he worked as HVAC coordinator and assistant facilities director beginning January 2021 before resigning in early 2022.
Items used in crypto-mining operation
In a press statement to the BBC, Cohasset Police boss William Quigley stated that investigations began in December 2021 after the facilities director of the town discovered electrical wires, ductwork, and several computers that looked misplaced during a routine inspection. During the initial investigation, Nahas and his boss, the town's facilities director, reported they had shut off the computers due to the high heat they generated.
However, a subsequent investigation involving the US Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security placed Nahas, initially denying any involvement, at the center of the operation of illegal crypto mining. Police found credit card receipts in Nahas's name that were used to buy Coleman 48qt coolers, extreme weather foil, insulated flex ducts, a water-based sealant tub, and insulation sleeves. All the items were located in the crawl space and used in the illegal crypto-mining operation.
On high alert about cryptojacking
Crypto mining is a process used to validate cryptocurrency transactions and create new cryptocurrency coins. However, the process consumes massive amounts of electricity. As cryptocurrency becomes more popular and grows in value, crypto mining also becomes a magnet for crypto thieves.
Last December, authorities in Thailand seized 3,500 illegal crypto-mining units from 41 commercial buildings and apartments in Bangkok connected directly to power lines. They unlawfully drained more than $14 million worth of electricity.
Big tech firms like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have always been on high alert about cryptojacking, a different kind of illegitimate crypto mining where hackers hijack a computer's resources without the owners' knowledge to mine cryptocurrencies. Privacy coin Monero (XMR), which is famous with Dark Web users, is the most popular coin mined this way.
Tom is a freelance writer with over 15-years’ experience in content creation, blog writing, and SEO specializing in the blockchain and cryptocurrency niche. He is a philosophical figurehead who believes that to make our world a better place, we must invest in incorruptible products and procedures, of which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are leading examples.