HomeEthereumTwo brothers accused of stealing $25M in a 12-second Ethereum robbery •...

Two brothers accused of stealing $25M in a 12-second Ethereum robbery • The Register


US Department of Justice Charges Brothers in $25 Million Ethereum Blockchain Scheme

Two Brothers Accused of Exploiting Ethereum Blockchain for $25 Million Heist

The US Department of Justice has charged two brothers, Anton and James Pepaire-Bueno, with allegedly exploiting open source software used in the Ethereum blockchain world to steal $25 million. The pair, both computer scientists, are accused of carrying out a sophisticated scheme that called into question the integrity of the blockchain.

Cryptocurrency blockchains, including Ethereum, are decentralized log files of transfers that use cryptography to maintain integrity. Validators are responsible for approving transactions and adding them to the chain. The brothers allegedly exploited a weakness in the MEV-Boost project’s code to manipulate transactions and make off with millions in crypto.

The scheme involved setting up validators to exploit a relay and alter transaction lists to their advantage. They baited traders with illiquid cryptocurrencies, manipulated the proposed block, and drained the liquidity pool, resulting in a $25 million heist in just 12 seconds.

After the alleged heist, the brothers attempted to launder the money through various channels. Foreign law enforcement froze $3 million, while $20 million was funneled into another shell company. The brothers face charges of wire fraud and money laundering, with potential jail time of up to 20 years for each count.

The case highlights the risks and vulnerabilities in the cryptocurrency world, as well as the potential consequences for those who exploit them. Prosecutors have announced the brothers’ arrests and are seeking to recover any ill-gotten gains.


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