School Employee Charged Over Secret Crypto Mining Operation

A former school employee in Cohasset, Massachusetts is facing criminal charges after investigators discovered a “cryptocurrency mining operation” underneath the building. According to the Cohasset Police Department, Nadeam Nahas, 39, is accused of fraudulent electricity use and vandalism. A warrant has been issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in court.

Boston’s Fox 25 reports that Cohasset Middle/High School’s director of facilities discovered the setup in December 2021 and alerted police to unusual wiring and ductwork in a small crawl space beneath the building. Detectives found that the school’s electrical system had been unlawfully attached to a cryptocurrency mining operation.

Crypto mining is the process that creates digital currencies like Bitcoin. Transactions are verified on a decentralized digital network called a blockchain. Rather than relying on central authorities like banks to manage transactions, the blockchain uses a distributed network of computers to validate and keep secure, transparent records of all transactions.The mining process requires computers to solve complex mathematical problems using special hardware and software. Miners compete to solve these problems, and the first miner to find a solution is rewarded with a new cryptocurrency and transaction fees from the verified transactions.

The problem for the environment and the Cohasset school system (in this case) is that mining requires a lot of computational power. That means high electricity usage, which generates a lot of heat. Miners in the above-board operations must invest in specialized equipment and pay for those high electricity costs.

After consulting with the town’s IT director, investigators and U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service members, as well as the Department of Homeland Security removed the equipment for forensic examination.

After what the Globe reported was a three-month investigation, police identified Nadeam Nahas as their suspect. A former Cohasset assistant facilities chief, Nahas had resigned as a town employee in early 2022.

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