MEV Engineer Linked to Alleged $1.2M Rug Pull Apprehended in US

Key Takeaways

  • MEV engineer "Pokerbrat" arrested for alleged involvement in a $1.2 million rug pull.
  • ZachXBT links "Pokerbrat" to a history of investment scams.
  • Rug pulls contributed to $760 million in crypto losses last year.

Robert Robb, an MEV engineer known as “Pokerbrat,” was arrested, allegedly linked to a $1.2 million rug pull scheme.

According to records from the Henderson Police Authority, U.S. law enforcement has detained Robert Robb, a Miner Extractable Value (MEV) engineer.  The city police’s records of booked inmates show the details of his arrest.

MEV bots are automated tools investors use to identify and execute trades on the Ethereum network.

Popular on-chain investigator ZachXBT believes Robb’s run-in with law enforcement may be linked to a previous rug pull scheme. The crypto community knows him as a “Pokerbrat.”

The saga began unfolding in December 2023 when ZachXBT first highlighted Robb’s alleged fraudulent activities.

According to ZachXBT’s report, Robb built a deceptive scheme. He allegedly defrauded more than $1.2 million from eleven individuals who invested in various MEV bots that he claimed would help them profit. However, these tools were never delivered.

Robb’s explanations for the delays in launching the MEV bots ranged from COVID-related setbacks to health issues, exchange errors, and even claims of being blackmailed.

In addition to his alleged dubious history with the MEV investors, ZachXBT also uncovered Robb’s questionable past.

In 2002, Robb pleaded guilty to scamming investors in Silicon Valley and Seattle out of more than $4 million. He used the faux claim that top Las Vegas casinos, Microsoft Corp., and magician David Copperfield backed his online gaming company.

The engineer used illicit gains from investors to gamble in Las Vegas and purchase new Lexus cars. When investors became reluctant to invest more, Robb allegedly resorted to issuing death threats.

Despite ZachXBT’s revelations in December 2023, Robb threatened to take legal action against him, insisting that he still intends to launch the MEV project.

The crypto community eagerly awaits the release of court documents to clarify Robb’s arrest. Although the exact charges have not been disclosed, the evidence strongly suggests his involvement in the alleged rug pull scheme.

Rug Pulls: Blackship of Crypto Industry

Rug pulls are a deceptive tactic used by fraudulent developers in the cryptocurrency space. This scam typically involves creating a new crypto token, which is then heavily promoted to inflate its price artificially.

Once the price peaked, the developers “pulled the rug” by selling off their tokens and abandoning the project, causing the price to plummet to zero. Rug pulls are considered an exit scam often associated with decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.

According to data from blockchain security firm Quantstamp on December 2023, rug pulls and related scams totaled up to $760 million last year. They are ranked as the most common type of crypto attack, as reported in a third-quarter report in 2023 from blockchain security auditor Hacken.

Hacken data report shows rug pull scam accounted for $65% of crypto loss in 2023 Q3

In 2023, when bad actors stole $1.7 billion in crypto, rug pulls accounted for a significant portion of the losses.