Avraham Eisenberg, a trader accused of manipulating the decentralized exchange Mango Markets in a massive multi-million dollar scam, is slated to stand trial on Dec. 4 in New York.
The scam was carried out on October 11, 2022, with Mango Markets tweeting at the time that a hacker had manipulated the platform’s price oracle, resulting in a loss of approximately $110 million.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have both brought charges against him.
Eisenberg has been accused by the CFTC of engaging in fraudulent activities, market manipulation, and violating the Commodity Exchange Act.
The organization is pursuing financial sanctions, a prohibition on engaging in the buying and selling of virtual asset commodities, and reimbursement of funds.
An Alleged Scheme Unfolds
According to the CFTC’s filing, Eisenberg’s scheme sought to artificially inflate the value of his swap contract holdings on Mango Markets.
He allegedly intended to borrow the huge amount of digital assets without repaying them.
Mango Markets is a Solana-based DEX governed by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) composed of holders of its native token, MNGO.
The platform provides a range of financial services to cryptocurrency investors, including the ability to lend, borrow, swap, and utilize leverage for trading purposes.
On December 27, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice arrested Eisenberg for his involvement in the Mango Markets scam, which he admitted on Twitter and described as “a highly profitable trading strategy.”
To carry out the scam, it is believed Eisenberg created two anonymous accounts on Mango Markets just before the hack and funded each with $5 million in USDC.
He employed one account to create a long position valued at $19 million, which included more than 400 million swaps of MNGO/USDC at roughly $0.04 each.
He then used the second account to establish a short position of the same value and number of MNGO/USDC Swaps.
The CFTC states that this effectively resulted in a “wash” transaction, with Eisenberg concealing his involvement by creating both accounts anonymously.
Following the security breach, Mango DAO proposed a $47 million reward to the individual responsible for exploiting the vulnerability, along with a guarantee of immunity from legal proceedings, on the condition that they return tokens worth $67 million.
Eisenberg, the perpetrator, publicly accepted the terms of the agreement. However, it is currently uncertain whether the tokens were indeed returned to Mango DAO.
While Mango Market DAO and its community may show leniency, the US legal system and law enforcement agencies are known to be less merciful.
A December Trial Awaits
The cryptocurrency community is closely following the upcoming trial of Avraham Eisenberg, who faces federal charges of commodities fraud, commodities manipulation, and wire fraud.
Eisenberg’s plea of not guilty on January 9, 2023, has set the stage for a high-stakes trial on Dec. 4 that could yield a 20-year prison sentence.