Two MIT alumni charged in $25 million cryptocurrency heist

Anton Peraire-Bueno SB ’24 and James Peraire-Bueno SM ’21 SB ’19 were taken into federal custody on May 14. They were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and are accused of stealing about $25 million in cryptocurrency from the commonly used Ethereum blockchain. 

The elder Peraire-Bueno earned a B.S. in mathematics, computer science and aerospace engineering in June 2019, as well as a M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics in June 2021. The younger Peraire-Bueno earned a B.S. in computer science and engineering in February 2024.  

Investigators allege that the brothers began planning the scheme in December 2022 that would “bait” certain traders on the Ethereum platform. They are accused of exploiting the "validators" on the blockchain, which serve to protect the integrity and security of transactions. 

If convicted, the brothers could each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each criminal count.