A Taiwanese Bitcoin miner has been charged by local police for mining more than $14 million in cryptocurrency by using over $3 million worth of stolen electricity from the grid.

The miner named only as Yang by Taiwanese authorities has been accused of operating 17 illegal mining operations by employing fake storefronts in Tianjin, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu.

Yang set up his mini-industry by rewiring power supplies in the buildings which he had partially rented to house his fake shops, usually an internet café or in other cases doll shops, then diverted the power directly to his personal units.

His enterprise was foiled by police when Taiwan Power, the country’s national supplier, was alerted to an abnormal power surge problem in one of Yang’s doll shops and went to investigate. Wang Zhicheng, deputy head of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau commented:

“The group recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters.”

Electricity theft for cryptocurrency mining is also a recurring problem in mainland China. Last year in April, Chinese police in Tianjin confiscated 600 Bitcoin mining computers in one of the country’s largest cases of power theft.

Mining has taken a hit in China due to last year’s poor performance of cryptocurrency on the markets. As Bitcoin News reported yesterday Bitmain, the world’s largest maker of cryptocurrency mining chips is reported to be laying off up to 50 percent of its staff in 2019.

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