COHASSET, Mass. (AP) — A former employee of a Massachusetts town is facing charges of allegedly setting up a secret cryptocurrency mining operation in a remote crawl space at a school, police said.
Nadeam Nahas, 39, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of fraudulent use of electricity and vandalizing a school, but he did not show up and a judge issued a default warrant after rejecting a defense motion to reschedule, a spokesperson for the Norfolk district attorney’s office said.
A listed number for Nahas was not accepting messages on Thursday.
Police responded to Cohasset Middle/High School in December 2021 after the town’s facilities director found electrical wires, temporary duct work, and numerous computers that seemed out of place while conducting a routine inspection of the school, Chief William Quigley of the Cohasset Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.
He contacted the town’s IT director, who determined that it was a cryptocurrency mining operation unlawfully hooked up to the school’s electrical system, Quigley said.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Department of Homeland Security assisted with safely removing and examining the equipment.
Crypto mining, the process of validating cryptocurrency transactions and creating new cryptocurrency, consumes vast amounts of electricity.
Nahas, the town’s assistant facilities director, was identified as a suspect after a three-month investigation. After a show-cause hearing, a criminal complaint was issued. Nahas subsequently resigned from his job with the town in early 2022, police said.