MIT Students Staged $25M Ethereum Heist In Just 12 Second Flat

mit alumni brothers steal 25 million in ethereum in under 12 seconds
Cryptocurrency is on the rise again, with Bitcoin cresting the $60k mark earlier this year and holding steady while Ethereum floats just shy of $3k. With those tantalizing prices, crypto-crimes are also rising again after a brief cooldown following the $40m heist at crypto casino Stake. However, these crimes are largely easy for authorities to follow, which is precisely what two MIT grad brothers discovered with the announcement of their indictment yesterday.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced an indictment against Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, and James Pepaire-Bueno, 28, yesterday, May 15th. The pair has been charged with “conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering,” all of which stem from a scheme to make off with $25 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency in about 12 seconds. Both were arrested in Boston and New York, respectively, and face up to 20 years in prison for each count.

eth mit alumni brothers steal 25 million in ethereum in under 12 seconds

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco revealed the intricate details of the Peraire-Bueno brothers' scheme, stating that they "stole $25 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency through a technologically sophisticated, cutting-edge scheme they plotted for months and executed in seconds.” This involved the brothers “[manipulating] and [tampering] with the process and protocols by which transactions are validated and added to the Ethereum blockchain,” gaining access to private transactions and making off with the cryptocurrency which they then attempted to hide. This final item involved “numerous steps to conceal their identities and lay the groundwork to conceal the stolen proceeds, including by setting up shell companies and using multiple private cryptocurrency addresses and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges.”

Fortunately, both DoJ prosecutors and IRS agents were able to simply “follow the money,” and ultimately put the kibosh on the whole operation. While it is unclear from the notice whether victims were able to get their funds back, the explanation of where the funds went would imply that it is entirely possible. We will have to see how all this plays out in court, as all people are innocent until proven guilty, so stay tuned to HotHardware for updates.