Brothers Charged in $25 Million Ethereum Fraud Scheme

High-tech Heist Involves Manipulation of Blockchain

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  • Anton and James Peraire-Bueno are charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
  • They allegedly stole $25 million in cryptocurrency through a scheme on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • The theft took only 12 seconds to complete.
  • The brothers used their computer science and math skills in the scheme.
  • They face up to 20 years in prison for each count if convicted.

Federal prosecutors have charged two brothers, Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, from Boston, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, from New York, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering – according to a press release published on justice.gov website.

The charges stem from an elaborate plan to exploit the Ethereum blockchain and steal $25 million worth of cryptocurrency in mere seconds.

Two brothers standing next each other in pixel art format.
Two brothers standing next each other in pixel art format.

Details of the Scheme

The indictment alleges that the brothers, who both studied computer science and math at a top university, used their expertise to manipulate the Ethereum blockchain.

They allegedly accessed pending transactions, altered them, and quickly obtained their victims’ cryptocurrency.

The plan, known as the “Exploit,” took several months to prepare, but the actual theft was executed in just 12 seconds.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco explained that despite the sophisticated nature of the crime, the Department of Justice and IRS agents were able to uncover the scheme.

“As cryptocurrency markets continue to evolve, the Department will continue to root out fraud, support victims, and restore confidence to these markets,” Monaco stated.

Arrest and Investigation

Anton and James Peraire-Bueno were arrested yesterday in Boston and New York. They are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul G. Levenson in Massachusetts and U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo in New York.

Attorney Damian Williams emphasized that the brothers’ actions undermined the integrity of the blockchain, which many rely on for secure transactions.

The IRS-CI New York Cyber Unit led the investigation, using advanced technology and traditional investigative methods to trace the stolen cryptocurrency.

Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso highlighted the unit’s role in financial crime investigations, saying they will continue to follow the money trail to solve complex cases.

The Peraire-Bueno brothers face serious legal consequences, with each count carrying a potential 20-year prison sentence. The case remains a significant step in addressing the challenges posed by new technologies in financial fraud.

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