A Suffolk County information technology supervisor has been arrested for mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency out of the county center in Riverhead since February, District Attorney Timothy Sini announced Wednesday.
Christopher Naples, 42, of Mattituck, is charged with Public Corruption, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Computer Trespass and Official Misconduct, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office. Naples is the assistant manager of information technology operations for the county clerk’s office and has been employed by the county since 2000, according to the release.
Investigators executed a search warrant at the county center on Aug. 19 and seized 46 cryptocurrency mining devices hidden throughout unused panels and removable floorboards in six rooms throughout the building, Sini said.
The investigators found that 10 devices in Naples’ operation had cost more than $6,000 to the county in energy bills, according to prosecutors. The investigation into the operation and costs of the other devices is ongoing, but are estimated to cost $4,200 per month each in electricity, the release said. An investigation is ongoing to find out how much money Naples’ could have made from the alleged operation, Sini said.
“Mining cryptocurrency requires an enormous amount of resources, and miners have to navigate how to cover all of those electricity and cooling costs,” Sini said in a statement. “This defendant 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.”
Sini said some devices had increased the temperature of one room that held the county servers and other infrastructure, and put it at risk. The devices also required the bypassing of the county’s internet security protocols and could have “jeopardized the security of the county’s network,” Sini said.
Naples was arraigned on Wednesday in Southampton Town Justice Court and was released on his own recognizance, according to the DA. He is due back in court Sept. 16. If convicted of the top count, he could face a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.
Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Support local journalism.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.