Technology

Massachusetts crypotcurrency mine ran on school’s stolen power: Police

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QUINCY, Mass. −A 39-year-old former town employee was charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of electricity by running a clandestine cryptocurrency mining inside of a school. 

Nadeam Nahas has been charged with fraudulent use of electricity and vandalizing a school in Cohasset, Massachusetts. He turned himself in last week after a warrant was issued for his arrest because he failed to appear in court. 

Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley said detectives were called to Cohasset Middle/High School in December 2021 to investigate a report of a possible “cryptocurrency mining operation.”

The set up, which included dozens of mining machines, was in a remote crawl space under the school, police said.

Detectives interviewed the town facilities director, who said that during a routine inspection of the school he noticed electrical wires, temporary duct work and numerous computers that seemed out of place. 

After researching and contacting the town IT director, investigators said they learned it was a cryptocurrency mining operation illegally attached to the school electrical system.

Nahas, the town’s assistant facilities director, was identified as a suspect after a three-month investigation. Nahas subsequently resigned from his job with the town in early 2022, police said.

“Mining” is the process through which Bitcoin and other digital currencies are created and new transactions are verified. It involved a complicated system of computers and massive amounts of energy.

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The total global electricity usage for crypto-assets are between 120 and 240 billion kilowatt-hours per year, the White House said, which outpaces annual energy use of many individual countries, like Argentina.

Reach Mary Whitfill at mwhitfill@patriotledger.com.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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