The worker allegedly used around 50 county-owned devices to mine cryptocurrency in a government office on Long Island.
Christopher Naples, a former I.T. supervisor with Suffolk County, has been arrested and charged with several offenses for operating a crypto mining operation in a government building. According to the New York Times, officials in Suffolk County allege that Naples used thousands of dollars in stolen electricity to power 46 devices used for cryptocurrency mining. The devices were spread out and hidden in six different in the Suffolk County Center in Riverhead. Naples’ hiding spots included under floorboards and inside electrical boxes.
Naples’ charges include police corruption, grand larceny, computer trespassing, and official misconduct. If convicted, Naples faces a maximum sentence of 15 years behind bars. Mr. Naples’ defense team has yet to release a statement on the issue.
Officials cracking down on illegal mining
Investigators for the case allege that Mr. Naples was running his operation since at least February with ten rigs to start with. Estimates on energy usage total more than $6,000 on those ten machines, making this a grand larceny case. Timothy D Sini, Suffolk Country’s District Attorney, said at a news conference that “we’re talking about an enormous amount of energy.” Mr. Sini added that they had yet to compile an estimate on just how much the 36 additional machines were used but that Naples had cost taxpayers thousands more than originally thought.
Mr. Naples has been an employee of Suffolk County since 2000 and admitted that the equipment was his and that he had been using it for several months.
Another issue surrounding this case is the possible security breach from all this illegal tech hooked into government computers. According to Mr. Sini, the equipment was placed in the same room as “critically important computer servers,” and other equipment needed to run the entire county. Another red flag, the extra equipment apparently raised the temperature in the room by around 20 degrees.
Sini added that “Not only do we have thousands of dollars of taxpayer money funding this operation, but it also put the county’s infrastructure at risk.”
The excessive use of resources, specifically the office internet, caused other employees to complain about the speed which caused investigators to suspect something was amiss. The room in which Naples primarily operated also required several air conditioning repairs over the last few months.
Naples was arraigned Wednesday and released on his own recognizance.