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MIT alumni accused of $25 million Ethereum heist

"Ethereum Heist"
“Ethereum Heist”

Two brothers and MIT alumni, Anton Peraire-Bueno and James Peraire-Bueno, stand accused of exploiting their advanced understanding of the Ethereum blockchain to allegedly steal an astonishing $25 million in just 12 seconds.

Leveled by the US Department of Justice, this serious charge has caused the US Attorney Damian Williams to scrutinize the credibility of blockchain technology. The security and transparency of blockchain, despite its highly-touted benefits, now face considerable doubts due to potential vulnerabilities exposed in this incident.

The Peraire-Bueno siblings are facing accusations of collusion in committing wire fraud and money laundering. If found guilty, they could each face up to 20 years imprisonment, accentuating the severity of their alleged crimes.

According to prosecutors, the brothers are suspected of executing their plot in December 2022. They used their expert knowledge in cryptocurrency trading to manipulate “pending private transactions” on the Ethereum blockchain, seizing the victims’ cryptocurrency. This alleged illicit use of their technological prowess puts the security of blockchain transactions under serious question.

The prosecution also alleges that the brothers concealed their identities.

MIT graduates in $25 million Ethereum scandal

They operated Ethereum validators under dummy corporations and overseas exchanges, luring specialized bots with “bait transactions” they later altered for their benefit. Disturbingly, despite pleas from their victims requesting a return of their funds, the brothers allegedly refused. Instead, they made efforts to obscure their ill-gotten gains.

These efforts included online searches for “top crypto lawyers” and “money laundering statute of limitations,” underlining their suspected intentions to navigate legal repercussions while retaining their unlawfully acquired assets. Special Agent Thomas Fattorusso of the IRS-CI New York Field Office led the investigation into these untoward activities.

His team combined advanced technological methodologies with traditional investigative approaches to track the fraudulent transactions and reveal the elaborate scheme. Now, the brothers face serious legal charges for their alleged wrongdoing, putting a notable spotlight on the intricacies of blockchain technology and its potential for abuse.

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