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Massachusetts man charged after mining crypto in school crawl space

A Massachusetts man faces charges after mining cryptocurrency in a school crawl space, according to a report from the Washington Post on Feb. 23.

That report says that Nadeam Nahas, a Cohasset, MA, municipal employee, was set to be arraigned today for fraudulent electricity use and vandalism. He did not arrive in court, and the judge issued a default warrant, giving police the power to arrest him.

The town’s facilities director — not named in the article — discovered computers and assorted equipment in a school crawl space in December 2021 and reported his discovery to the police. The town’s IT director later determined that the configuration was a crypto-mining network connected to the school’s electrical system.

Nahas, the town’s assistant facilities director, was identified as the suspect. He reportedly resigned from his position in early 2022.

The original article did not report which cryptocurrency Nahas mined. However, Bitcoin is typically mined in both legitimate and illicit mining operations.

Illegal crypto-mining operations are fairly common, as electricity costs greatly offset Bitcoin mining profits. According to Visual Capitalist, it cost $35,404 to mine a single Bitcoin last year ⁠— more than the value of Bitcoin at that time. Illegal miners can increase their profits by relying on a venue that already pays for electricity.

Russian business portal TA Adviser reports dozens of illegal mining incidents since 2017. Perpetrators have mined cryptocurrency on the premises of universities, mental hospitals, government buildings, and airports, among other locations.

Though most of those incidents concern illegal connections to electricity sources, a portion concern direct theft of mining equipment and other related crime.

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