QUINCY, Mass. −A 39-year-old former town employee has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of electricity by running a clandestine cryptocurrency mining operation inside the school.
Nadeam Nahas was charged with fraudulent use of electricity and vandalism at 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 several mining machines, was in a remote area under the school, police said.
Detectives interviewed the city’s facilities director, who said that during a routine inspection of the school he noticed electrical wiring, temporary duct work and several computers that appeared to be out of place.
After research and contacting the city’s IT director, investigators said they learned it was a cryptocurrency mining operation that was illegally plugged into the school’s 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 city in early 2022, police said.
“Mining” is the process by which Bitcoin and other digital currencies are created and new transactions are verified. It involves a complex system of computers and large amounts of energy.
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The total global electricity use for crypto-assets is between 120 and 240 billion kilowatt-hours per year, the White House said, which is more than the annual energy use of many individual countries, such as in Argentina.
Mary Whitfill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributing: The Associated Press