Former Fed Employee Fined $5,000 for Using Computer for Bitcoinby
A former Federal Reserve employee was sentenced Friday to 12 months probation and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty in October to installing unauthorized software on a computer server at the U.S. central bank.
Nicholas Berthaume, who as a communications analyst had access to computer servers at the Fed’s Board of Governors in Washington, installed software that connected to an online bitcoin network in order to earn units of the digital currency, according to a statement Monday from the central bank’s Office of Inspector General.
Berthaume also “modified certain security safeguards so that he could remotely access the server from home,” the statement said. When confronted, he tried to cover up his actions by deleting the software; eventually he was fired and admitted guilt, the office said. His actions didn’t result in the loss of any Fed information, and the board has enhanced security since the incident, the internal watchdog said.
Rebecca LeGrand, a lawyer who represented Berthaume, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Bitcoin is a software protocol for issuing and moving money across the Internet. New bitcoins are earned, or “mined,” by people who lend computing power to the networks that tally and certify transactions made using currency.