The police have moved to arrest a former Massachusetts state facility worker for allegedly stealing nearly $18,000 worth of electricity to run an illegal crypto-mining operation. According to reports, the accused, Nadeem Nahas, set up a secret crypto-mining facility inside Cohasset High School’s crawl space.
A new report noted that a judge issued a warrant for Nahas’ arrest after faulting a scheduled court appearance. Reports also revealed that the matter has been under investigation since December 2021.
Police Seized 11 Mining Computers Hidden Under Cohasset High School
Nadeem Nahas was an employee in the facilities department for Cohasset town in Massachusetts, United States. As per the complaint filing, Nahas allegedly stole electricity worth $17,492.57 to run his crypto-mining computers between April 28 and December 14, 2021.
The local police got intel about the operation in December 2021 after the high school’s facilities director noticed strange computers and wiring in the crawl space. He reported his observation to the police, who discovered 11 mining computers allegedly kept by Nahas after a three-month investigation.
Reports also noted that Nahas resigned from his position in the Cohasset facilities department in March. Meanwhile, he was supposed to appear for a hearing in court since the local police filed a complaint against him. But after Nahas failed to appear before the court, the judge issued a default warrant to arrest him.
Courts often issue default warrants when someone fails to appear for a hearing or obey an order. The default warrant authorizes law enforcement agents to arrest the defaulter.
Court documents show the town calculated Nahas – of Norwell (he worked for the town of Cohasset in the facilities dept) allegedly stole $17,492.57 worth electricity as the computers did their work 24/7 near the boiler room in the basement. It was discovered 12-14-21.
— Jonathan Hall (@JHall7news) February 23, 2023
Nahas isn’t the first to face charges for running a crypto-mining operation with stolen electricity. In July 2021, Malaysian authorities cracked down on several illegal Bitcoin miners, seizing and destroying over $1.2 million worth of Bitcoin mining rigs.
A video shared by a Malaysian local media outlet on YouTube showed a steamroller running over 1,069 Bitcoin mining rigs.
In August 2020, Bulgarian law enforcement agents arrested two men for stealing over $1.5 million in electricity to run crypto mining farms. According to a local media outlet Bulgaria Today report, the two Bulgarians from Sofia funneled the electricity to two illegal crypto farms for 3-6 months.
US Authorities Raise Alarm On Crypto Mining Energy Usage
Authorities are concerned about more than just the quantity of electricity consumption by crypto mining. They are also concerned about their carbon footprint on the environment. A recent report noted that eight US lawmakers wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Energy Department requesting information on crypto mining.
The lawmakers, including staunch crypto critic, Elizabeth Warren, wanted to know how much energy crypto mining consumes. In their letter addressed to USEPA administrator Michael Regan and Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, the lawmakers noted the rapid growth of crypto mining in the US as a cause for environmental concern.
They demanded a comprehensive mandatory disclosure of data collected by the department on crypto mining energy use and its environmental impact. The lawmakers gave the recipients till March 6 to respond to their letter.
Representative Jared Huffman was among the lawmakers who wrote the letter. In a tweet, the lawmaker affirmed that energy use and pollution caused by cryptocurrency mining worries them. He further noted that he and Senator Warren urged the officials to ensure that crypto miners transparently disclose their energy use and emissions.
Featured image from Pixabay, Chart from TradingView.com