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Cutting corners: Cryptocurrency has fallen on hard times, making it unprofitable for just about anyone running a mining operation. That is, unless you're letting someone else pay the utility bills. A Massachusetts man was discovered to have set up an illegal mining farm in his previous employer's boiler room crawlspace. The operation reportedly used more than $17,000 in stolen electricity over an eight month period.
The culprit, 39-year-old Nadeam Nahas, was charged by the town of Cohasset, MA, with fraudulent use of electricity and vandalizing a school. He was charged following investigations that led town officials to a hidden cryptocurrency mine that was set up in a secluded crawlspace next to a Cohasset school's boiler room. The farm reportedly included 11 pieces of mining equipment as well as a ventilation system to ensure the mining equipment would not overheat.
The farm was originally discovered in December, 2021 by Cohasset's facilities director during a routine school inspection. During the inspection, the director identified duct work, wiring, and several computers that seemed out of place in the rarely accessed crawlspace. The farm was properly identified as an illegal cryptocurrency mining operation with the help of the town of Cohasset's information technology director. Once identified, the pair contacted authorities to further investigate the unauthorized operation and identify its owner.
Cryptocurrency mining can be performed using everyday computing resources or larger, far more powerful specialized equipment designed to increase mining yield and overall efficiency. Based on the images released (above), Nahas was running the mining farm using larger application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), a type of chip designed for completing a very specific operation as efficiently and quickly as possible.
The miners in the released photos typically require large, server-grade power supplies to maintain 24/7 operations. These supplies, which can range from 1200 to upwards of 2600 watts or more per miner, can run up a pretty hefty utility bill in a fairly short amount of time. In this case, Nahas is responsible for stealing $17,492 in electricity between April and December of 2021.
Nahas reportedly resigned from his position as Assistant Facilities Director with the town of Cohasset in the early part of 2022. A Massachusetts judge issued a default warrant earlier this week following Nahas' failure to show up for his February 23rd arraignment hearing. Local outlets later reported that Nahas turned himself in to authorities following the missed hearing.