A state employee at Florida’s Department of Citrus (FDoC) has been arrested for allegedly using official computers to mine cryptocurrencies.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has jailed Matthew McDermott, IT manager for the state government agency that oversees Florida’s citrus industry. He is reportedly being held pending trial, with bail set at $5,000.
The FDLE alleges that McDermott used computers in the department to mine cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and litecoin, and has charged him with grand theft and official misconduct, according to the report.
An investigation further indicated that the utility bill of the department had surged by over 40 percent from October 2017 to January 2018, as cryptocurrency mining requires significant amounts of electricity due to its high processing demands.
The FDLE said McDermott had also purchased 24 graphic processing units on the office’s account at a cost of around $22,000, according to the report. GPUs are commonly used for cryptocurrency mining given their ability to crunch numbers much faster than standard computer chips.
The news marks the latest instance in the U.S. of official employees being prosecuted for using public resources to mine cryptocurrencies.
Just last week, it was reported that the U.S. state of Louisiana has begun investigating former staffers for using official resources to the mining activity.
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