A crypto YouTuber has been accused by a Minnesota electricity supplier of attempting to bribe its employees so he could upgrade a bitcoin mine that had already stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of electricity.
As reported by the Wadena Pioneer Journal, the lawsuit submitted on November 21 accuses Minnesota residents Ryan Jaenicke and his former girlfriend Tina Fehlhaber of a “greed-fuelled conspiracy” that saw them steal power from North Star Electric Cooperative to power a bitcoin mine in Roosevelt.
In June last year, North Star noticed increased electricity use on an old line that once powered a property in Roosevelt. The house’s electricity supply was reportedly disconnected in 2018 after the previous owners left.
The property was owned by TiMar, a company owned by Fehlhaber and affiliated with Jaenicke, and had not applied for North Star electricity.
During a subsequent investigation, North Star discovered an old meter box that had been tampered with to redistribute electricity from the North Star network to two electrical transformers and the Roosevelt property.
North Star, working with law enforcement, was able to observe an estimated 26 crypto-mining units at the property. However, when police returned with a search warrant, the mining devices were gone. Witnesses reportedly saw the pair remove the devices from the property.
YouTuber turned to bribery to upgrade mine
Jaenicke runs a YouTube channel called ‘Degenerate Income’ where he reportedly shows viewers different ways to earn a passive income through “degenerate plays in the decentralized finance space.”
In several transcribed Facebook messages shared in the lawsuit, Jaenicke is shown attempting to bribe a North Star employee. He allegedly offers $2,000 in cash to upgrade a fuse box in secret, however, the employee refuses, saying “I can’t risk my career.” Jaenicke offers a further $5,000 but is rejected again and told he’s “got the wrong guy.”
North Star is seeking damages and to retrieve any profits that the pair may have made using the stolen power. The company added that the defendants should follow Jaenicke’s own published advice and “be a man” and “own up to your mistakes.”