Brothers Who Went to MIT Stole $25M in Crypto in 12 Seconds: DOJ

Anton and James Peraire-Bueno hit with charges related to wire fraud, money laundering
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
Brothers Who Went to MIT Stole $25M in Crypto in 12 Seconds: DOJ
FILE - A sign marks an entrance to the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, Jan. 23, 2023.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Anton and James Peraire-Bueno went from graduating from MIT to facing more than 20 years behind bars. The brothers, one of whom lives in New York and the other in Boston, were arrested Tuesday on federal charges alleging they stole $25 million in cryptocurrency in just 12 seconds in a scheme allegedly referred to as "the exploit," CBS News reports. The Department of Justice says the scheme was a novel one never before prosecuted in the US, Reuters reports. They targeted the Ethereum blockchain, and the BBC reports that they are alleged to have used skills they learned at MIT to exploit the process Ethereum uses to validate transactions.

According to the DOJ's press release, the brothers "manipulated and tampered with the process and protocols by which transactions are validated and added to the Ethereum blockchain. In doing so, they fraudulently gained access to pending private transactions and used that access to alter certain transactions and obtain their victims' cryptocurrency. Once the defendants stole their victims' cryptocurrency, they rejected requests to return the stolen cryptocurrency and took numerous steps to hide their ill-gotten gains." The press release says they set up shell companies and took other steps to conceal what they'd done. They each face more than 20 years behind bars. (More cryptocurrency stories.)

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