The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) yesterday arrested a 57-year-old man and his two sons on charges of larceny and fraud after they allegedly tampered with Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) meters to avoid paying an estimated NT$85 million (US$2.83 million) of charges.
Investigators found that the suspect, surnamed Yang (楊) — who had previously been arrested for contravening the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) — had been “mining” cryptocurrencies with his sons.
As the machines they used consumed a lot of electricity, the three allegedly decided to tamper with the Taipower’s meters so that they would not be able to accurately calculate how much electricity they had used, the bureau said.
Photo: Yao Yueh-hung, Taipei Times
Discrepancies in the meter readings were detected by Taipower, which then reported the case to the police, the bureau said.
The bureau said that it formed a special task force, which spent nearly six months collecting evidence, adding that it then secured warrants to search the suspects’ properties between Tuesday and Thursday last week.
Police found that Yang and his sons were engaged in cryptocurrency mining at 12 different locations in New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the bureau said, adding that they have found 1,090 cryptocurrency mining machines, 12 computers and a number of smartphones.
The amount of electricity that the Yangs are alleged to have obtained illegally is estimated to have cost NT$85 million, the bureau said.
Using a lot of electrical equipment simultaneously could cause machines to overheat, which could damage the electrical wires and even result in a fire, police officers said, adding that they welcome any tips or information from the public about people accessing electricity illegally.
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