Two senior officials from the Patterson Joint Unified School District in California have pleaded guilty to using school resources for personal gain. What did they do? Among others they mined cryptocurrencies using the electricity of local schools.
They mined cryptocurrencies using the school's electricity
As announced by prosecutor Phillip A. Talbert, 43-year-old Jeffrey Menge of Copperopolis and Eric Drabert of Modesto, who is a year older than him, pleaded guilty.
But what exactly is this case about? From 2018 to 2022, Menge, then serving as assistant superintendent and chief business officer, and Drabert, an IT director hired in 2020, defrauded public funds from the Patterson Joint Unified School District. Their elaborate scheme involved transactions totaling more than $1.2 million through Cencal Tech LLC, a company controlled by Menge. In addition, they created the character of the fictional director of this company, “Frank Barnes”. Thanks to this “character” straight from the game “Sims”, they double-invoiced and collected fees for items that were not delivered to the branches.
However, the above is only part of the plan. Using high-end graphics cards and other resources owned by the district, Menge and Drabert set up cryptocurrency mines. The excavators were located in as many as 10 schools and, of course, increased electricity consumption, which eventually caused concern among US energy regulators.
Thanks to all this, Menge earned USD 1 million, and his partner – approximately USD 250,000. With these funds, both men renovated their houses and bought luxury cars.
The criminal duo is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley on May 30, 2024. They face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Poles not geese!
Poles also did not want to be worse in this field. Last year, an illegal cryptocurrency mine was detected in the building of the Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw. Someone installed excavators in the ventilation duct. The perpetrators were caught just like their US counterparts – due to higher consumption of eclectic energy. The matter was handled by the Internal Security Agency.