By Ben Glickman

Two brothers were indicted Wednesday for allegedly stealing $25 million worth of cryptocurrency after gaining access to transactions in the Ethereum blockchain.

Prosecutors alleged that Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, had tampered with the process and protocols that validate transactions in the Ethereum blockchain, allowing them to obtain victims' holdings and alter transactions.

The two men were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday. Prosecutors said the theft took 12 seconds after it was put into action.

Lawyers for the two defendants couldn't be identified immediately or reached for comment.

Prosecutors said the scheme was believed to be the first of its kind, and allegedly involved planning over several months and learning the trading behaviors of victims.

Anton Peraire-Bueno and James Peraire-Bueno, using their expertise in crypto trading and their skills developed from studying at prestigious universities, "exploited the very integrity of the Ethereum blockchain," prosecutors said.

The two brothers were arrested Tuesday.

Write to Ben Glickman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-15-24 1341ET