Ohio Inmates Built Computers Printing Passes, Accessing Tor and Bitcoin Wallets

Ohio Inmates Built Computers Printing Passes, Accessing Tor and Bitcoin Wallets


On April 11, the U.S. state of Ohio Inspector General’s Office released a report about five prisoners accused of building two personal computers (PC) from spare parts within the prison. The inmates used the makeshift computers to access Tor, obtain credit cards, apply for bank accounts, and create bitcoin wallets as well.

Also read: Drug Enforcement Officer From India Accused of Stealing Bitcoins

Five Ohio Inmates Built Two Makeshift Computers and Hacked the Prison Server

Ohio Inmates Built Computers Printing Passes, Accessing Tor and Bitcoin Wallets
Ohio Marion Correctional Institution

Five inmates from the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio built two computers from recycled computer parts and hid them in the prison ceiling. The jerry-rigged PCs were used for various cyber activities for well over two years within the prison facility. The Inspector General was notified of the incident when the prison’s IT team noticed peculiar activity while testing the facility’s server.

Warnings included hacking alerts and proxy changes within the prison network. Furthermore, the prison’s IT specialists noticed the daily internet usage surpassed the typical average rate. The Ohio Inspector General states;

On the above date and time I was following up on information received from our IT department. I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers.

Investigators Discover Inmates Secured Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, and Bitcoin Wallets

Ohio Inmates Create Prison-Built Computers Accessing Tor and Bitcoin Wallets
Computers were located in the prison ceiling. Photo taken by the Ohio Inspector General.

Following the report, correctional officers removed two prison-built computers from the ceiling and charged five inmates with the crime. Officers also removed the two computers’ hard drives for further forensic data collection.

Investigators found Pidgin chat accounts, visits to Tor sites, virtual phone software, and applications for credit cards. Additionally, officials found the inmates had created a system where they could issue prison passes that allowed them to roam the Marion Correctional Institution freely. The Ohio Inspector General then issued subpoenas to five banks that revealed credit card applications penned by a “Kyle Patrick.” In addition to the fraudulent credit card applications officers also discovered the crew utilized bitcoin wallet software as well.

“It appears the Departmental Offender Tracking System (DOTS) portal was attacked and inmate passes were created,” explains the Ohio Inspector General’s report.

Findings include bitcoin wallets, stripe accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts point toward possible identity fraud, along with other possible cyber-crimes.

Prisoners Charged and Separated

The end result of the investigation saw the five ‘hacker inmates’ charged with building hidden computers and manipulating the prison’s server. All five prisoners were removed from the Marion Correctional Institution and placed in separate facilities.

Going forward the Ohio Inspector General detailed the prison would “take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again.”

What do you think about the five prisoners building computers and accessing credit cards and bitcoin wallets? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, The Register.uk, and Marion Correctional Institution.

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  • Fabricio

    The expression is “jury-rigging”, not “jerry-rigging”.

    • Shawn Pringle

      No. “jerry rigging” means to make something with only the stuff you have and is normally used when the appropriate parts are not available and the person improvises.

      • Fabricio

        Wrong. There is jury-rigging, meaning using improvised materials to build a temporary fix, which is a nautical term that goes back hundreds of years—and there is jerry-built which means poorly built, but goes back only a few decades. The two expressions are not etymologically related; jury and jerry do not come from the same root.

        AND THEN, because jury and jerry, in those expressions, share the same pronunciation, there are people, who having only heard them, confuse both when writing them down—not helped in their confusion by the fact that the homograph jury, as a standalone word, is nowhere else pronounced the same as jerry.

  • Paula Bojinoff

    No one noticed for 2 YEARS! Bullshit,let’s have a follow up that the CO’s get punished that let this happen

  • David Agrinsonis

    Should give those guys a job in cyber security

  • Thomas J Pastore

    And this is noteworthy to bitcoin why? They used bitcoin wallets…so? Anything to connect bitcoin to criminal activity I suppose. Yet another desperate attempt of a bankrupt police state to besmirch a thing they know nothing about and feel threatened by.


    It’s about time the government started fearing the people again. This country is completely out of control imprisoning people for nothing. There are more people in prison in the ‘land of the free’ on a nominal basis than in Russia, Iran and China COMBINED.

    If these guys are smart enough to do this, I would wager good money that they are in prison for some ridiculous victimless crime, or jay walking or something else the PC police deem offensive. What a waste of industrious and talented human capital. I do NOT condone criminal activity, but I DO wonder what the ‘crimes’ were that put them behind bars.

  • Shawn Pringle

    This is rather humbling to me. Good stuff. Give them sewing machines and they would walk out in guard uniforms.

  • Mahesa Suprobo

    This is like something you’d see in a movie.

  • Adewale Ayokunle Opeyemi

    Like something you will see in the movies…

  • Casey Wright

    crafty bandits.

  • Billy Williams

    co had to know i been in that prison done 2 years there