An employee of the Ukrainian State Justice Administration has been charged with mining cryptocurrency at work,
in the latest example of a government staffer exploiting public resources for personal gain. The unnamed individual was the subject of an investigation led by the prosecutor’s office of Kyiv, working in partnership with other agencies. The scam was running from within the court administration department, with investigators identifying an individual within the data systems division as the culprit. According to reports, the crypto mining scam ran from January to May 2018. The individual used computer hardware and bandwidth reserved for the court documents database to mine crypto for personal profit.
He was also found to have used state servers for hosting personal websites, including a selection of ecommerce sites and a website for fans of motorcycles. The individual has been charged on several counts with illegal intervention in the work of computers and computer networks, as well as in the distribution of harmful software. The charges carry a possible prison sentence of six years under Ukrainian law. The employee will also be banned from working for government agencies on conviction.
A number of cases of staff using public resources to mine cryptocurrency in Ukraine have emerged in recent months, with the court administration department case only the latest. In November, employees of Ukraine’s national rail administration were caught mining cryptocurrencies on work systems, while law enforcement agencies earlier busted a similar scam in operation at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant.
The scams see crypto savvy employees leverage state-funded systems to mine cryptocurrencies for their own benefit, and constitute a form of fraud specific to the crypto sector. Beyond Ukraine, cases of this nature have become increasingly common in recent years—thanks in no small part to so-called privacy coins, often favored by scammers for obscuring fraudulent activity. The case should serve as a warning to any other would-be crypto scammers intending to mine crypto on work machines—in this case, as in all others, crypto crime doesn’t pay.
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