NY worker charged in digital money scam

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. cryptocurrency / ˈkrɪp toʊˌkɜr ən si / (n.) – digital money that’s used for paying or selling goods or services through the internet without relying on banks

    My brother keeps telling me to invest in cryptocurrency like bitcoin, but I’m not sure if I trust it.

  2. count / kaʊnt / (n.) – one of the crimes that a person is accused of

    The suspect was found guilty on two counts of robbery.

  3. grand larceny / grænd ˈlɑr sə ni / (n.) – the act of stealing something that has a very high value

    He stole over $10,000 worth of jewelry, which means they’re going to charge him with grand larceny.

  4. trespass / ˈtrɛs pəs / (n.) – the crime of going on or entering someone’s property without permission

    He was arrested for trespass after they caught him entering the school after midnight.

  5. equation / ɪˈkweɪ ʒən / (n.) – a mathematical statement that shows that two sets of numbers or amounts are equal

    E=mc2 is one of the most famous equations.


Read the text below.

An employee cost a New York county at least $6,000 (¥660,000) in electricity bills by allegedly secretly installing dozens of machines at his workplace in a cryptocurrency scheme, authorities said Sept. 8, announcing charges against him.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said Christopher Naples, who worked in the county clerk’s office as a supervisor of information technology operations, is charged with counts including public corruption, grand larceny and computer trespass.

Sini said Naples, 42, who has worked for the county since 2000, had put 46 devices throughout the county center in Riverhead, New York, in locations like an unused electrical wall panel and underneath floorboards. At least some of the devices had been in place since February.

Naples is accused of using the devices to mine bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count against him.

Cryptocurrency units are created by computers solving complex math equations, and the process can result in heavy electricity usage and high cooling costs. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Naples faces up to 15 years in prison. Given the counts he was charged with (ex. public corruption, grand larceny, and computer trespass), what do you think about that length of prison time? Which of the counts do you think was the most serious? Why? Discuss.
  • Naples secretly installed dozens of machines at his workplace and cost the county at least $6,000 in electricity bills. Have you ever used the electricity at your job or at a store for personal reasons (ex. charging your phone)? In your opinion, where’s the line between reasonable use and a crime? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Naples had put 46 devices in locations like an unused electrical wall panel and under floorboards, and at least some had been in place since February. How do you imagine he finally got caught (ex. another employee heard the machines, his boss investigated a high electricity bill)? Why? Discuss.
  • Naples is accused of using the secret devices to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Do you think cryptocurrency will ever fully replace traditional money? Why or why not? Discuss.