US brother duo steal $25m in crypto in just 12 seconds

The Department of Justice has charged two brothers in the United States and students of one of the most prestigious universities with stealing $25 million worth of cryptocurrency

The brother duo, Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, are said to have stolen $25 million worth of cryptocurrency in just 12 seconds, and now face wire fraud and money laundering charges that could see them serve 20-year prison sentences.

The two are reportedly enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and were able to carry out the theft in April 2023. According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the brothers stole the funds in Ethereum denomination, using a cutting-edge scheme they plotted for months, but executed in seconds.

The brothers were eventually caught not just by law enforcement, but also with the help of the Internal Revenue Service which was aware of the fraud and money laundering scheme that followed the actual theft. In its official position, the Department of Justice has called the scheme the “first-of-its-kind,” indicating the technological sophistication of the theft and the skills necessary to pull it off, are possibly unprecedented.

Yet, there are bigger implications to take out of this case, as US Attorney Damian Williams has said that the very integrity of the blockchain model is now put into question. The duo was able to gain access to private transactions and then altered the transactions to get hold of the victims’ money.

However, the brothers were indeed contacted by Ethereum officials, who were aware of the fraud or any such scheme. They allegedly proceeded to try and launder the money, but prosecutors were able to catch them red-handed. Further details into the technical exploit were not readily available or offered, as this suggests that the scheme could have broader implications for the safety of blockchain transactions.

Law enforcement has become increasingly adept at tracing down crypto crimes and tracking them down to perpetrators worldwide, an effort that is in no small part led by the United States.

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Written by Barney


Barney is co-founder of When not at work he can usually be found behind a Nikon. He's won numerous international competitions for his photography and volunteers as a content creator for aid organisations in Africa.

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