MIT-Educated Brothers Accused of Stealing $25 Million Ethereum Cryptocurrency That Took Only 12 Seconds

By Trisha Andrada

May 16, 2024 03:21 AM EDT

crypto scam
In this photo illustration of the litecoin, ripple and ethereum cryptocurrency 'altcoins' sit arranged for a photograph on April 25, 2018 in London, England.
(Photo : Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Two brothers, both of whom graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), were indicted on Wednesday, May 15, for allegedly stealing $25 million worth of cryptocurrencies in just 12 seconds.

Peraire-Bueno brothers, Anton (24) and James (28), allegedly spent months hatching a "first-of-its-kind" crypto scam using the Ethereum blockchain, according to the United States Department of Justice.

Peraire-Bueno Brothers Reportedly Found Flaw in Ethereum Blockchain

In a report by CNBC, the indictment states that the Peraire-Bueno brothers were accused of finding a flaw in the Ethereum blockchain that would enable bots to add the most valued pending cryptocurrency transactions automatically.

Using the bots, the defendants reportedly pretended to be Ethereum validators, diverted pending transactions and stole $25 million. The DOJ claimed that while foreign authorities froze around $3 million of the transactions, the two individuals allegedly turned the unfrozen money into the dollar-pegged DAI cryptocurrency coin.

The Peraire-Buenos reportedly utilized offshore cryptocurrency exchanges and several private Bitcoin addresses to conceal their scam and set up shell corporations.

Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said the heist only took 12 seconds to complete once the brothers implemented their plan. "This alleged scheme was novel and has never before been charged," he stated.

READ NEXT: Crypto Heists: North Korea Launders $147 Million in Stolen Cryptocurrency in March.

Brothers Charged With Money Laundering, Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy

On Tuesday, May 14, New York City resident James and Boston resident Anton were taken into custody on accusations of money laundering, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Prosecutors claimed the couple studied math and computer science at MIT, one of the nation's top colleges, which gave them exceptional talents that enabled them to complete the scam in seconds.

CBS News said MIT confirmed that Anton earned a BS in computer science and engineering in February 2024, and James earned a BS in mathematics, computer science, and aerospace engineering in June 2019, as well as an MS in aeronautics and astronautics in June 2021.

The two may spend up to 20 years behind bars on the three charges if found guilty.

READ MORE: Tornado Cash Cofounder Faces 5-Year Prison Time for Laundering $1.2 Billion in Crypto

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics