New York gov’t employee faces 15 years over illegal digital currency mining

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A veteran government employee has been arrested on charges of illegally engaging in block reward mining using work equipment. The man allegedly cost the New York State government up to $6,000 over his activities and could be jailed for as long as 15 years in connection with his crimes.

Christopher Naples was an information technology supervisor at the country clerk’s office in Suffolk County, a position he has held for the past two decades.

According to a report by AP News, Naples allegedly set up 46 devices for his block reward mining throughout the county center in Riverhead, New York. He reportedly placed his mining equipment in locations that couldn’t be easily accessed, such as “an unused electrical wall panel or underneath floorboards,” AP News noted. Some of these devices had been operational since at least February 2021.

The district attorney’s office began to investigate the 42-year-old after it received a tip. It installed surveillance cameras in the hallways of the building housing the clerk’s office, Newsday reports.

Before the investigation unearthed his crimes, county employees working in the same building as Naples had been complaining about slow internet connection and unpleasant air conditioning.

“Within hours of the devices being shut down, the temperature in the room dropped 20 degrees. So not only was this operation being paid for with thousands of dollars of taxpayer money, but it also put the County’s infrastructure at risk,” Timothy Sini, the Suffolk County District Attorney revealed.

The man, who is a resident of Mattituck in New York, allegedly set back the local government $6,000 in electricity costs through his activities. He turned himself in to authorities last Wednesday and was charged with public corruption, grand larceny, official misconduct, and computer trespassing. He stands to face up to 15 years behind bars if he’s convicted of all the allegations.

Naples is just one of many that have been apprehended for engaging in block reward mining using government resources. Seeking to make some money without covering the high costs of energy, civil servants in countries like Australia and Russia have been caught and prosecuted for similar crimes.

“Mining cryptocurrency requires an enormous amount of resources, and miners have to navigate how to cover all of those electricity and cooling costs. Naples found a way to do it; unfortunately, it was on the backs of taxpayers,” Sini commented.

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