SEC charges Mango Markets exploiter for allegedly stealing $116M in crypto

Regulation

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has followed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and others in filing parallel charges against the crypto user allegedly behind a multimillion-dollar exploit of decentralized exchange Mango Markets.

In a Jan. 20 notice, the SEC alleged Avraham Eisenberg manipulated Mango Markets’ MNGO governance token, allowing him to steal roughly $116 million worth of cryptocurrency from the platform. According to the complaint, Eisenberg allegedly executed a series of large MNGO purchases in order to artificially raise the price of the token relative to USD Coin (USDC), then drained the assets from Mango Markets.

“Eisenberg engaged in a manipulative and deceptive scheme to artificially inflate the price of the MNGO token, which was purchased and sold as a crypto asset security, in order to borrow and then withdraw nearly all available assets from Mango Markets, which left the platform at a deficit when the security price returned to its pre-manipulation level,” said David Hirsch, head of the SEC’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit.

The SEC, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the FBI, and the CFTC, has charged Eisenberg with violations of the anti-fraud and market manipulation provisions of securities laws. According to the financial regulator, it will be seeking “permanent injunctive relief, a conduct-based injunction, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties”.

Eisenberg was allegedly responsible for executing a major Mango Markets exploit in October, withdrawing roughly $50 million worth of USDC, $27 million worth of Marinade Staked SOL (mSOL), $24 million worth of SOL, and $15 million worth of MNGO. Mango Markets later reported roughly $67 million worth of funds had been returned, with Eisenberg publicly stating he believed his actions had been legal as part of a “highly profitable trading strategy”.

Source: Twitter

Authorities arrested Eisenberg in Puerto Rico in December. The FBI’s complaint stated he “willfully and knowingly” engaged in a scheme involving the “intentional and artificial manipulation” of the price of perpetual futures on the crypto platform. The CFTC followed with its own lawsuit on Jan. 9, accusing Eisenberg of market manipulation.

Related: How low liquidity led to Mango Markets losing over $116 million

Following a January detention hearing, a magistrate judge ordered Eisenberg detained until his trial, as it was the only way to ensure his appearance. The Mango Markets exploiter has not posted to his Twitter account since his arrest in December.

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