A Covid-19 hospital in Russia has detained an IT specialist who was working for a medical institution located in Russia’s Altai Republic. He illegally mined cryptocurrency. Before law enforcement discovered his crypto farm, the man had been creating digital currencies with stolen electricity for nearly a year.
A Gorno-Altaisk employee, the capital of the Altai Republic, was arrested for setting up a cryptocurrency farm in a medical facility. According to Russian crypto news outlets Bits.media, and RBC Crypto, he had been operating the mining equipment since the beginning of last year.
The man, who was a chief information security expert, installed the coin-mining hardware and connected it with the servers of the hospital. This hardware had been previously used to treat Covid-19 patients, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic detailed in a press release.
According to a statement from the Federal Security Service (FSB) regional office, the mining equipment was left running for nearly a year using stolen electricity. This caused damages of over 400,000 rubles (closer to $7,000 at current exchange rates).
Further, the law enforcement agency noted that the IT specialist turned to cryptocurrency mining after he faced financial difficulties. He realized quickly that he didn’t have enough computing power or energy at home so he decided to start a mining operation at work.
During raids at the suspect’s house, FSB and police officers seized computer equipment and mining devices. The criminal code of the Russian Federation states that the crypto miner could be sentenced to up to two years imprisonment.
Altai’s case has been solved due to crypto mining becoming a popular alternative income source for ordinary Russians. It is now common to mine digital coins in basements and garages, dachas and government institutions, particularly in regions that offer cheap, subsidized electricity.
Russia is a country where cryptocurrency mining has yet to be fully regulated. This is despite its abundant energy resources as well as its cool climate. There have been steps taken to increase electricity rates for miners who mine with household electricity.
Authorities in Dagestan closed down two illegal crypto farms in May, taking over 1,500 mining machines. One of them was found at the Russian republic’s water supply firm’s pumping station.
A resident of the capital Mahachkala had set up the mining facility there and conspired with water utility employees. A crypto mining facility was also discovered in Russia’s oldest Butyrka jail. The deputy warden allegedly ran it.