Another Government Employee Caught Mining Crypto With Government Equipment

DooKey

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An employee with the Department of Citrus in Florida has been arrested for mining with state owned IT equipment. He was discovered when the electric bill for his department rose by more than 40 percent over a four month period. To make things worse for himself he used his state purchasing card to buy 24 GPU's for his operation that resulted in credit card charges exceeding $22,000 over a six month period. That's a nice way to end your career with charges of grand theft and official misconduct. When are they going to learn? Thanks cageymaru.

Matthew McDermott, 51, of Davenport was the information technology manager for the Florida Department of Citrus, the agency that oversees the state’s citrus industry.

According to FDLE agents, he used several computers in the Department of Citrus to mine for virtual currency, which include bitcoin and litecoin.
 

HorseproofBacon

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I'm actually curious what kind of video cards did those government systems have that would even be worth the risk of termination for mining (I'm assuming the employee was fired)? I'd find it hard to believe they have anything even remotely worth mining with.
 

kirbyrj

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I'm actually curious what kind of video cards did those government systems have that would even be worth the risk of termination for mining (I'm assuming the employee was fired)? I'd find it hard to believe they have anything even remotely worth mining with.

"To make things worse for himself he used his state purchasing card to buy 24 GPU's for his operation that resulted in credit card charges exceeding $22,000 over a six month period."

Fired is the least of his worries...
 

The Cobra

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Really stupid thing to do. On another note, where I live in Maryland there was a police raid that thought the owners house was being used as a growing operation for pot. Turned out after the 8 cops raided the house, they found a cyrpto-mining operation. The proof they used was the power company had alerted them of the amount of power being used by the homeowner.
 

KedsDead

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Hmm.. at $917 a card.. and the article says 4 months ago.. We know where 24 1080ti's are.. And from the price, they are probably the AIO variety..

You know, with the way our govt works now a days.. I would not be surprised if a news article comes out saying the CIA had a secret crypto mining farm housing tens of thousands of GPUs and Asic miners, to fund there covert operations..
 

noko

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Your tax money being spent wisely, wait NOT. I wonder how many other government agencies have excess video cards (gaming ones) doing some side jobs? Maybe we can blame the government for taking all the gaming cards.
 

sirmonkey1985

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Really stupid thing to do. On another note, where I live in Maryland there was a police raid that thought the owners house was being used as a growing operation for pot. Turned out after the 8 cops raided the house, they found a cyrpto-mining operation. The proof they used was the power company had alerted them of the amount of power being used by the homeowner.

not surprising.. where i grew up they use to do fly overs checking for grow houses with infrared camera's.. we had cops show up multiple times when we'd do friday night to sunday night lan parties at my house in my garage.
 

thecold

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Cryto is a relatively new thing. Not many things in residential will draw that much power.
 

Aix.

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Really stupid thing to do. On another note, where I live in Maryland there was a police raid that thought the owners house was being used as a growing operation for pot. Turned out after the 8 cops raided the house, they found a cyrpto-mining operation. The proof they used was the power company had alerted them of the amount of power being used by the homeowner.

Land of the free.
 

nutzo

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As with most criminals he got too greedy and got caught.
My guess he was more of a manager than a technology expert and didn't think about how much power his mining operation was going to take.
A 40% increase in power is significant, and probably included all the extra power the air conditioner used to cool down the computers.

He could have just bought a couple cards to use for mining, and probably wouldn't have been caught as the increase in electricity would have been a few percent.
 

Dead Parrot

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Not sure I see grand theft if the state purchased cards were installed in state computers on state property. Or was the grand theft for putting the coins mined into his personal account? Didn't see any report on how many coins he mined before being discovered. Wonder if he turned a profit for the state? Assuming that any coins mined wind up being seized as part of the process. Be ironic if the agency just lets the mining rig run as way to recoup the expenses.
 

Gigus Fire

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I don't really understand why this is even an issue. Fire him, sell the cards for even more money on the market, charge him for the excess electricity and recoup all the currency's worth.
Then the state will actually make money from this and no tax payer money is spent. What's the problem here?
 

katanaD

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The proof they used was the power company had alerted them of the amount of power being used by the homeowner.


Since the wife, and sometimes me, work from home we have a number of computers and then associated heating/cooling running all the time. I occasionally get letters from the power company trying to "shame" me for showing how much more power i use then my neighbors, to which i laugh and tell them to go F themselves.
 

vegeta535

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I don't really understand why this is even an issue. Fire him, sell the cards for even more money on the market, charge him for the excess electricity and recoup all the currency's worth.
Then the state will actually make money from this and no tax payer money is spent. What's the problem here?
Knowing the government they would of tossed the system in the garbage and pay a couple hundred grand to replace it all.
 
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Jim Kim

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Truly cost effective mining, until you get caught.

What's the big deal. Take over his mining operation and pour all that money back into the states coffers. win win chicken dinners for all
 

steakman1971

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Wonder who approved his ability to buy the GPU's? Any job I've ever had had a system of checks & balances. I'd have to fill out a request with a reason why I need to purchase the item. If your boss doesn't give a crap or isn't technical, I guess you could put something down and make it look good.
I also suppose he was a high enough level where he could approve items up to a certain dollar amount without having to go through a bunch of hoops. Even so, the auditors generally go through your credit card statements and do some digging.
 

The Cobra

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Might have gotten away with folding@work. ;)

I've got F@H running on three machines, including my file server which has dual-8 core CPU's. Since we do most of our stuff in Office 365 now, the server is freed up to run F@H, LOL.
 
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Since the wife, and sometimes me, work from home we have a number of computers and then associated heating/cooling running all the time. I occasionally get letters from the power company trying to "shame" me for showing how much more power i use then my neighbors, to which i laugh and tell them to go F themselves.

Ontario Hydro, by chance?
 

theplaidfad

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You know, with the way our govt works now a days.. I would not be surprised if a news article comes out saying the CIA had a secret crypto mining farm housing tens of thousands of GPUs and Asic miners, to fund there covert operations..

The CIA doesn't need their own computers to mine, they already have all of ours to mine with courtesy of the companies that build backdoors into their hardware at the CIA's bequest.

CIA guy reading this... I'm only joking, I swear.
 

cdabc123

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Interestingly enough I live in Colorado and use pretty much the max power you can pull out of a house. Electricity company doesn't care in the slightest.
 

cdabc123

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The CIA doesn't need their own computers to mine, they already have all of ours to mine with courtesy of the companies that build backdoors into their hardware at the CIA's bequest.

CIA guy reading this... I'm only joking, I swear.

Some people have such a good monitor over what there computer is doing that they would notice any moderately intensive tasks taking power/compute cycles
 

Ragenrok

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Really stupid thing to do. On another note, where I live in Maryland there was a police raid that thought the owners house was being used as a growing operation for pot. Turned out after the 8 cops raided the house, they found a cyrpto-mining operation. The proof they used was the power company had alerted them of the amount of power being used by the homeowner.
thats actually pretty common, happened to a friend as well (In Canada) He got a few reptiles and a couple large heat lamps and the cops showed up after the electric company alerted them to a sudden large increased and consistent power draw. Once he explained the reason the officers asked if they could see, he showed them and they never returned again.
 
D

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I don't really understand why this is even an issue. Fire him, sell the cards for even more money on the market, charge him for the excess electricity and recoup all the currency's worth.
Then the state will actually make money from this and no tax payer money is spent. What's the problem here?

You're joking right?
 
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The CIA doesn't need their own computers to mine, they already have all of ours to mine with courtesy of the companies that build backdoors into their hardware at the CIA's bequest.

CIA guy reading this... I'm only joking, I swear.
I got an email from the CIA once (yes, really). Little shits never responded to my reply. :eek:
 

theplaidfad

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Some people have such a good monitor over what there computer is doing that they would notice any moderately intensive tasks taking power/compute cycles

Let's say there are 2,400,000 computers that aren't monitored in the way you suggested, that's not a far flung assumption in the least bit, right? Let's say an agency that has backdoor access to those takes 100,000 of those and makes them mine for an hour, then switches to the next 100,000 for another hour... and on and on like that for a 24 hour period. An undetectable botnet, if you will. Nobody is likely to notice a spike in their electric bill when their computer was only used for an hour each day to mine.
 
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D

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thats actually pretty common, happened to a friend as well (In Canada) He got a few reptiles and a couple large heat lamps and the cops showed up after the electric company alerted them to a sudden large increased and consistent power draw

Is electricity uptake really probable cause? So many things can cause it. When I was building out my basement I had 3000 Watts of heat on there constantly till it was near done. I hate working in the cold, plus it encouraged mold growth.
 

theplaidfad

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Is electricity uptake really probable cause? So many things can cause it. When I was building out my basement I had 3000 Watts of heat on there constantly till it was near done. I hate working in the cold, plus it encouraged mold growth.

I am willing to bet you had filed a permit for the work. They already knew what you were up to and were easily able to rationalize not sending a checkup your way.
 
D

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I am willing to bet you had filed a permit for the work. They already knew what you were up to and were easily able to rationalize not sending a checkup your way.

In Pennsy, you don't have to under certain conditions. You don't even have to file a permit for electrical. However if you increase "living space" you do have to file for a permit. F'rs want their tax money which increases your assessed value for a completed basement.

Mine technically didn't include increased living space.
 

Ragenrok

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Is electricity uptake really probable cause? So many things can cause it. When I was building out my basement I had 3000 Watts of heat on there constantly till it was near done. I hate working in the cold, plus it encouraged mold growth.
Issue was they had lived there for a while (a few years) so a sudden large spike form their normal usage rates is very strange. This happened a few months after they installed the heat lamps so they were concerned about a possible grow op in the basement, it makes sense when you think about it lol.
 

Gigus Fire

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You're joking right?
No. Why would i be?
The problem is that he misappropriated funds, but the equipment is still owned by the state. If anything, electricity theft? Utilizing electricity in excess isn't quite theft. The problem stemmed from a lack of oversight to what he was doing and what he was purchasing. To completely ignore the fault of the state to oversee his actions is quite a misstep.
When it comes down to it, the concept of theft in this case is tax payer theft by mining while at work with state own equipment and reaping the rewards. If you recoup the cost of the excess electricity, recoup the worth of the bitcoin mined, at that point besides being fired, what other punishment must be meted out? If anything the state made money from this employee's actions.
 

Gigus Fire

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Issue was they had lived there for a while (a few years) so a sudden large spike form their normal usage rates is very strange. This happened a few months after they installed the heat lamps so they were concerned about a possible grow op in the basement, it makes sense when you think about it lol.
I think it's kinda scummy that an electric company can monitor usage and report it to police under the guise of "they must be doing something illegal" instead of corroborating the usage with other things that point to illegal activities, which as purchases in hydroponics or whatnot.
What if someone got an electric car and started to use more electricity to charge it overnight? Suddenly they get raided by the police? It's silly.
 
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Is electricity uptake really probable cause? So many things can cause it. When I was building out my basement I had 3000 Watts of heat on there constantly till it was near done. I hate working in the cold, plus it encouraged mold growth.

We had a grow-op epidemic for a while that left landlords with condemned buildings afterwards (due to mold). The theft of hydro was also constant and pretty much everyone involved was getting frustrated (especially the night-shift workers with blackout curtains on their house.) Not having to deal with this shit was a factor in legalization.
 
D

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No. Why would i be?
The problem is that he misappropriated funds, but the equipment is still owned by the state. If anything, electricity theft? Utilizing electricity in excess isn't quite theft. The problem stemmed from a lack of oversight to what he was doing and what he was purchasing. To completely ignore the fault of the state to oversee his actions is quite a misstep.
When it comes down to it, the concept of theft in this case is tax payer theft by mining while at work with state own equipment and reaping the rewards. If you recoup the cost of the excess electricity, recoup the worth of the bitcoin mined, at that point besides being fired, what other punishment must be meted out? If anything the state made money from this employee's actions.

Okay feds and state don't work that way. They submit a budget every year and they get a dedicated account for it and you pull FROM that account. Usually what happens is if you don't use all your funds, you're appropriations for the next year are slashed to close to your spend amount because the department over provisioned expenses.

What most gov't agencies do is look at their budget at the end of the year and buy crap for no reason out of fear because they didn't spend all of their budget, their funding will get cut when they might need it. It's a quite common practice in government. So you often see a lot of funding for odd ball stuff that really isn't checked off except by the accounting staff for accounting purposes, and the manager. If the manager is clueless about IT (like most government managers are) it could be easy to explain bluff such expenses. "We need to use these new video cards to work with our new monitors"

Oh if you think grand larceny of Federal Funds isn't an issue, well that reflects more on you than me.
 

Gigus Fire

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Okay feds and state don't work that way. They submit a budget every year and they get a dedicated account for it and you pull FROM that account. Usually what happens is if you don't use all your funds, you're appropriations for the next year are slashed to close to your spend amount because the department over provisioned expenses.

What most gov't agencies do is look at their budget at the end of the year and buy crap for no reason out of fear because they didn't spend all of their budget, their funding will get cut when they might need it. It's a quite common practice in government. So you often see a lot of funding for odd ball stuff that really isn't checked off except by the accounting staff for accounting purposes, and the manager. If the manager is clueless about IT (like most government managers are) it could be easy to explain bluff such expenses. "We need to use these new video cards to work with our new monitors"

Oh if you think grand larceny of Federal Funds isn't an issue, well that reflects more on you than me.
I'm quite familiar with how state budgets work.

I get the end of the year and making sure they use all of their budget, but there's still a constraint on what they can purchase/get that still fits the business needs. At least that's how it works here.

grand larceny = theft. What exactly did this guy steal?
 
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