Two Brothers Arrested Over $25M MEV Exploit on Ethereum

bitcoin crime

If convicted, Anton Peraire-Bueno and James Pepaire-Bueno could spend 20 years in prison for each count.  

The United States Department of Justice has apprehended two brothers concerning an alleged $25 million crypto exploit on the Ethereum blockchain.  

On May 15, the Justice Department filed charges against brothers Anton Peraire-Bueno and James Pepaire-Bueno for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. The U.S. noted that the brothers stole $25 million in crypto within roughly 12 seconds. Users are now doubtful about the security of the blockchain.   

“These brothers allegedly committed a first-of-its-kind manipulation of the Ethereum blockchain by fraudulently gaining access to pending transactions, altering the movement of the electronic currency, and ultimately stealing $25 million in cryptocurrency from their victims,” Thomas Fattorusso, a special agent from the New York Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation, said.  

Up to 20 Years In Prison

The exploit targeted the maximum extractable value (MEV) in the Ethereum blockchain. Allegedly, the brothers executed a sequence of test transactions, forcing the blockchain to release the entire content of a proposed block prematurely and steal the crypto asset.  

After the exploit, the U.S. stated that the siblings declined requests to return the stolen funds and concealed the assets through shell companies and foreign crypto exchanges. They also transferred the digital assets across multiple wallets. They could face up to 20 years in prison for each charge if found guilty.  

Not the First

Aside from the $25 million exploit, other protocols have suffered significant losses due to exploit. For example, popular decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Prisma Finance was compromised earlier this year, resulting in the loss of approximately $10 million worth of crypto assets. The attackers exploited a code vulnerability to transfer funds from different liquidity pools and protocol functions.

Similarly, in April 2024, DeFi and on-chain token vesting platform Hedgey Finance suffered the same fate, with the exploiter stealing $44.7 million worth of assets.

According to CertiK, crypto hacks, exploits, and scam victims lost approximately $25 million in April, marking the lowest monthly figure since 2021.