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Police search for Massachusetts man linked to illegal block reward mining under school crawl space

An ex-facilities worker in a Massachusetts school is wanted by law enforcement after he linked to an illegal block reward mining operation discovered on the school’s premises, The Washington Post reported.

Nadeam Nahas, 39, was expected to appear in court on February 23 to face charges in connection with an illegal block reward mining scheme but failed to show up. The charges against Nahas include the fraudulent use of electricity worth nearly $18,000 and vandalism.

After dismissing a motion to reschedule the hearing, the court issued a default warrant, prompting law enforcement agents to begin a search to arrest Nahas. Default warrants are usually issued by the bench in cases when criminal defendants violate bail conditions to appear before the courts.

Nahas is accused of setting up digital currency operations in a crawl space within the premises of Cohasset Middle/High School, prosecutors say. Nahas’ luck ran thin after a city official discovered multiple computers and wires that seemed out of place during a routine examination.

Preliminary investigations by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the setup under the school’s crawl space was an illegal block reward mining rig that tapped electricity from the school’s power system. Nahas was named as the principal suspect, and following a show-cause hearing, he was slammed with criminal charges.

Nahas is suspected of running illegal mining operations for nearly eight months, resigning from his role in early 2022.

Illegal miners face heightened crackdown

Illegal block reward mining operations have been busted following renewed enforcement actions by regulators since 2021. Bulgarian and Malaysian authorities have destroyed over $1 million worth of block reward mining equipment with multiple arrests under their belt.

Kazakhstan, a nation that housed the bulk of fleeing Chinese miners, cracked down on the activities of illegal block reward miners in sharp contrast to the welcoming disposition of authorities. Kazakhstan’s raids were fuelled by the blackouts and soaring gas prices stemming from the overloading of its electricity grid by miners.

A new licensing regime for miners and increased taxation threaten to take away Kazakhstan’s shine as a safe haven for block reward miners. Across Latin America, regulators are taking a negative stance toward block reward mining over concerns that the activity could harm the environment and put a strain on their electricity supply.

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