Florida Department of Citrus employee was mining cryptocurrency with agency computers

Business / Tech
Florida Department of Citrus

Soon after McDermott started mining for cryptocurrency the electric bill for the Florida Department of Citrus shot up 40%.

The citrus market is a huge part of Florida’s economy and that is why they have the Florida Department of Citrus. The Florida Department of Citrus is a state-run agency charged with regulation, marketing, and citrus research. Agencies such as these often have large numbers of computers, not only for employees but also for data storage and number crunching.

Matthew McDermott, 51, of Davenport Florida was the information technology manager in charge of the agency’s stock of computer systems. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Mr. McDermott was using the agency’s computers to mine for cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency has become a hot topic these past few months and prices have been wildly up and down.

Mining for cryptocurrency takes a lot of computing power, often not found on a single computer. Strong Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) play a big part in mining for the currency and that’s why GPUs are in short supply and prices have skyrocketed. Law enforcement says McDermott used several computers to accomplish his mining which included Bitcoin and Litecoin mining.

“A mining pool, or team, is used to solve mathematical equations in an effort to mine the virtual currency and win a reward,” the FDLE said. “The pool combines its resources to help offset costs.”

Soon after McDermott started mining for cryptocurrency the electric bill for the Florida Department of Citrus shot up 40%. McDermott is also accused of using the agency’s credit card to purchase stronger GPUs for the computers he was using to mine the cryptocurrency. He purchased 24 GPUs and racked up $22,000USD worth of purchases on the agency’s card. He has been charged with grand theft and official misconduct. He was also arrested with a bail set at $5,000USD.

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  Source: Tampa Bay
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