May 25, 2024


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Two American brothers were arrested for stealing $25 million in cryptocurrencies in just 12 seconds

Two American brothers were arrested for stealing $25 million in cryptocurrencies in just 12 seconds

Image source, Getty Images

Two brothers who studied at one of the most prestigious universities in the US have been accused of stealing $25 million (£20 million) in cryptocurrencies in 12 seconds.

Anton Berer Bueno, 24, and James Berer Bueno, 28, are charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

The US Department of Justice said the alleged theft was the first of its kind.

Prosecutors also say the pair, who were reportedly educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), carried out the operation in April 2023.

“The Pierre-Boineau brothers stole $25 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency through a sophisticated and technologically advanced scheme that they planned for months and executed in seconds,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lisa Monaco.

She added that agents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) played a key role in uncovering the “first-of-its-kind 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 the Ethereum process to validate transactions.

The brothers studied mathematics and computer science, according to the indictment, and both attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to news reports.

“The defendants’ scheme puts the integrity of blockchain into question,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to the public ledger that records cryptocurrency payments.

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

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

Prosecutors point out that this is the first time this “new” type of fraud has been subject to criminal charges.

Each faces more than 20 years in prison if found guilty.