American brothers arrested for stealing $25 million worth of crypto in just 12 seconds

Two brothers who studied at one of the most prestigious universities in the US have been accused of stealing $25 million worth of cryptocurrency in 12 seconds.

Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, are charged with bank fraud and money laundering.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the alleged robbery is the first of its kind.

Prosecutors also say the pair, reportedly trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), carried out the murder in April 2023.

“The Peraire-Bueno brothers stole $25 million worth of Ethereum cryptocurrency through a technologically advanced, sophisticated scheme that they plotted for months and executed within seconds,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

She added that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents played a key role in unraveling the “first-of-its-kind wire fraud and money laundering scheme.”

Prosecutors allege that the two used highly specialized skills they learned at “one of the most prestigious universities in the world” to exploit Ethereum's process for validating transactions.

According to the charges, the brothers studied mathematics and computer science and both attended MIT, according to news reports.

“Defendants' scheme calls into question the integrity of the blockchain,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Wednesday, referring to the ledger that records crypto payments.

The brothers allegedly stole from Ethereum traders by fraudulently accessing pending private transactions and then altering the transactions to obtain their victims' cryptocurrency.

The process, which researchers said they called “the Exploit,” took just a matter of seconds.

When confronted by an Ethereum representative, officials said the brothers refused to return the money and took steps to launder and hide their stolen profits.

Prosecutors note that this is the first time such a “new” form of fraud has ever been criminally prosecuted.

If found guilty, they each face a prison sentence of more than 20 years.

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