Brothers allegedly steal $25 million in cryptocurrency in 12 seconds

DOJ: Brothers learned from "prestigious" university and applied their knowledge in scheme.
Posted at 2:11 PM, May 17, 2024

Prosecutors say it took a pair of brothers only 12 seconds to steal nearly $25 million in cryptocurrency, and now they face serious criminal charges.

The Department of Justice announced it has charged Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, of Boston, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, of New York, of numerous criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Prosecutors allege that the brothers studied mathematics and computer science at a "prestigious" university and applied their knowledge to exploit the integrity of the Ethereum blockchain. Multiple outlets reported that they studied at MIT. The Department of Justice said the pair "manipulated and tampered with the process and protocols by which transactions are validated and added to the Ethereum blockchain."

In a court indictment, prosecutors say the alleged crime occurred in April 2023.

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The DOJ says the brothers learned the trading behaviors of the people they allegedly stole from. Prosecutors added that they took numerous steps to conceal their identity in hopes of not getting caught.

“The Peraire-Bueno brothers stole $25 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency through a technologically sophisticated, cutting-edge scheme they plotted for months and executed in seconds,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Unfortunately for the defendants, their alleged crimes were no match for Department of Justice prosecutors and IRS agents, who unraveled this first-of-its kind wire fraud and money laundering scheme. As cryptocurrency markets continue to evolve, the Department will continue to root out fraud, support victims, and restore confidence to these markets.”

Prosecutors say the Peraire-Bueno brothers face up to 20 years for each criminal count. The case will be heard in the Southern District of New York federal court.