NY County IT Supervisor Charged with Crypto-Mining

An information technology expert employed by a New York county has been arrested on suspicion of mining crypto-currency at work.

Christopher Naples is accused of covertly installing dozens of machines throughout his workplace and using them to mine Bitcoin and other types of crypto-currency as part of a secret illegal money-making scheme. 

Naples, who lives in Mattituck, New York, was hired by Suffolk County back in 2000. His current title is Assistant Manager of Information Technology Operations for the Suffolk County Clerk’s Office.

Authorities said that the clandestine crypto-mining activity allegedly carried out by 42-year-old Naples ran up electricity bills in excess of $6,000 for his unsuspecting employer.

Charges were announced against Naples on Wednesday by Suffolk County district attorney Timothy Sini. Naples has been charged with counts including grand larceny, computer trespass and public corruption.

Sini said Naples is accused of installing 46 crypto-mining devices in six rooms inside the county center located in Riverhead, New York. Hiding places in which the devices were allegedly concealed included beneath the floorboards of the building, on top of or inside server racks and inside an electrical wall panel that was not in use.

The scheme allegedly continued for months, with at least ten of the crypto-mining devices up and running since February 2021. 

Naples was released on his own recognizance after appearing in court on Wednesday. 

“Mining crypto-currency requires an enormous amount of resources, and miners have to navigate how to cover all of those electricity and cooling costs,” said Suffolk County’s Sini in a statement regarding Naples’ arrest. 

“Naples found a way to do it. Unfortunately, it was on the backs of taxpayers. We will not allow County employees, who are already on the public’s payroll, to steal taxpayer money or illegally use government resources for their own personal gain.”

The mining devices increased the temperature in some rooms by 20 degrees. 

Sini said: “Not only do we have thousands of dollars of taxpayer money funding this operation, but it also put the county’s infrastructure at risk.”

Naples faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count against him.

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