Back to main

DOJ Charges School District Staff with Operating Cryptocurrency Mining Farm on School Premises

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed charges against two senior staff members from the Patterson Joint Unified School District.

They are accused of running a cryptocurrency mining operation on the premises of the district’s 10 schools, using school resources and significantly increasing electricity costs.

In a recent DOJ statement, it was alleged that Jeffrey Menge, the assistant superintendent, and Eric Drabert, the IT director of the Patterson Joint Unified School District, collaborated to establish a cryptocurrency mining farm and profited from it.

The operation involved the purchase of high-end graphics cards, as well as the utilization of other school district assets and electricity for mining.

The statement, however, did not specify how many schools were involved in the crypto mining operation within the 10-school district, which serves approximately 6,200 students.

Furthermore, the type of cryptocurrency being mined was not disclosed, although commonly mined cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Monero, Ravencoin (RVN), and Dogecoin.

READ MORE: ARK Invest’s 2023 Report Advocates 19.4% Bitcoin Allocation for Optimal Institutional Returns

Data from CoinGecko indicates that mining a single Bitcoin as a solo miner consumes about 266,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to approximately seven years of continuous consumption at a rate of 143 kWh per month.

In addition to the crypto mining allegations, the DOJ asserted that Menge embezzled between $1 million and $1.5 million, while Drabert misappropriated between $250,000 and $300,000.

These charges coincide with a recent crackdown by the U.S. energy regulator on cryptocurrency miners as part of an initiative to reduce energy wastage in the country.

On February 1st, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) mandated that crypto miners must report their energy consumption for the next six months.

This move comes in response to concerns regarding the spike in Bitcoin prices, leading to a surge in crypto mining activities.

Additionally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced its intention to conduct a survey to measure the electricity usage of local crypto mining companies, beginning the following week. Miners will be required to provide details regarding their energy consumption.

The issue of excessive electricity consumption by crypto mining operations is not limited to the United States.

In December 2023, Indonesian police authorities shut down 10 Bitcoin mining operations, accusing organizers of electricity theft amounting to nearly $1 million. Global regulators are increasingly taking steps to address this concern.

Discover the Crypto Intelligence Blockchain Council

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

Read on Crypto Intelligence Investment Disclaimer