Crypto-mining scheme run from US school crawl space

Cohasset school crawl space
A janitor noticed temporary ductwork that looked amiss (Image: Cohasset Police Department)

A town official was running an illegal cryptocurrency mining operation from a crawl space under a school in the US state of Massachusetts, police say.

Nadeam Nahas, 39, who was an assistant facilities director in Cohasset, pleaded not guilty in court on Friday.

He is charged with fraudulent use of electricity and vandalising Cohasset High School, just outside Boston.

Crypto is digital currency that can be “mined” through specialised computer processors.

Because of the heavy computer calculations needed to verify transactions, such mining uses huge amounts of electricity.

Authorities were first alerted to the possible crypto-mining operation in December 2021, said Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley in a statement to the BBC.

Mr Quigley said the operation was being run from a remote crawl space that was discovered beneath Cohasset High School by its director of facilities.

Photo of several computers seized by police
A number of computers were used for the alleged scheme (Image: Cohasset Police Department)


“Detectives interviewed the director, who said that during a routine inspection of the school he noticed electrical wires, temporary ductwork, and numerous computers that seemed out of place,” Mr Quigley said.

Investigators discovered computers in the crawl space, and learned they were being used in a cryptocurrency mining operation that was illegally plugged into the school’s electrical system, police said.

After a three-month investigation with the help of the US Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security, police identified the suspect as Mr Nahas.

The mining operation had been running from April to December 2021, and cost the high school about $17,500 (£14,600) in electricity, according to court records seen by the Boston Globe.

Mr Nahas worked for the Town of Cohasset from January 2021 until his resignation early last year.

The BBC asked Cohasset Public Schools district for comment, and were referred back to the police statement on the matter.

In a statement shared with CBS News, the district said it had co-operated with police throughout the investigation.



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