A communications analyst formerly employed by the Federal Reserve was sentenced on Friday for secretly installing Bitcoin mining software on a central bank server. That former employee, Nicholas Berthaume, pled guilty to the charges last October, after initially trying to mask his activities by deleting the program. The court sentenced him to a twelve-month period of probation and fined him $5,000.
Fed Board of Governors Inspector General Mark Bialek issued a statement on the sentence, noting that Berthaume was convicted on one count of “unlawful conversion of government property in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641” – a misdemeanor. Bialek also notes that Berthaume also took steps to modify security systems so that he could access the servers remotely. He later used that remote access to delete the software when he realized that investigators were closing in. His involvement in these activities was later confirmed using forensic analysis.
The IG statement claims that no Board of Governors information was compromised by Berthaume’s criminal activities, but also confirmed that security has been enhanced to prevent these types of activities in the future. Bialek noted that his office will continue to root out abuse of this kind:
“This case demonstrates how my office will vigorously pursue Board employees who unlawfully abuse their positions and use government property for personal gain. I commend our agents for their diligent work. I also thank the Board's Division of Information Technology for its cooperation and the U.S. Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section for its assistance.”