An IT specialist working for a medical institution in Russia’s Altai Republic has been jailed for unlawfully mining cryptocurrencies at the premises of a Covid-19 hospital. The man manufactured digital currency using stolen electricity for almost a year before law police busted his crypto farm.
Altai Resident Apprehended for Running Underground Crypto Mining Operation
An employee of the republican hospital in Gorno-Altaisk, the capital town of the Altai Monarchy in southern Siberia, has been arrested for setting up a crypto farm at a treatment center. He has been administering the heavy machinery since early last year, the Russian crypto news outlets Bits.media and RBC Crypto claimed.
In February 2021, the individual, who worked as a top information network administrator, inserted the coin bank notes equipment and integrated it to the servers of the hospital which was recently used to treat patients with Covid-19, the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs explained in a press release.
According to an announcement by the regional headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the manufacturing equipment functioned for almost a full year on stolen electricity, incurring damages that amounted to over 400,000 rubles (close to $7,000 at current exchange rates).
In addition, the law enforcement agency made note of the fact that the IT expert began mining cryptocurrencies when he was having financial troubles. He rapidly came to the conclusion that he did not possess the requisite processing power and energy at home, so he made the decision to set up the mining operation at his place of employment instead.
During the search that was carried out at the suspect’s residence, law enforcement and FSB agents were able to confiscate mining devices as well as other computer equipment. According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the crypto miner, whose identity has not been disclosed, faces a possible maximum sentence of two years in prison for the charges he committed.
A number of regular Russians have turned to cryptocurrency mining as a supplementary means of earning revenue in recent years, which has led to the unraveling of the case in Altai. It has become standard practice, particularly in locations that offer low-cost or subsidized electricity, such as Irkutsk and other Siberian oblasts, to mint digital currencies in basements, garages, dachas, and even government facilities.
The mining of cryptocurrencies has not been comprehensively controlled in Russia, despite the fact that miners are interested in the country’s enormous energy resources and cool environment. Those that mine using power from their homes face higher rates due to recent policy changes that have been implemented.
The government of Dagestan was able to put an end to two illicit cryptocurrency farms in May of this year, seizing more than 1,500 mining devices in the process. One of them was situated in a building that served as a pumping station for the water supply corporation of the Russian republic.
The mining operation had been established there by a resident of the capital city of Mahachkala who, in conjunction with staff of the water company, had been involved in illegal activity. During this time, an installation for crypto mining was also found at Russia’s oldest prison, which is called Butyrka. According to reports, a deputy warden was the one operating it.