The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit approved the request of Lee Elbaz, who was found guilty in a $145 million fraud scheme, to postpone the deadline for filing her appeal. The time to file the opening brief and joint appendix in this case was extended by one month, from the original due date on July 2 to August 3, but the judge said any request for further delays would be “disfavored.”
Judge Patricia S. Connor issued the ruling in a brief written order that did not describe her reasoning. Prosecutors, court records indicate, did not file a written opposition to the request.
Explaining the failure to meet the deadline set out by court rule, Elbaz argues that the court-appointed counsel seems unqualified to handle this appeal and had no familiarity with the facts of this case. She further describes how the appeal is “unusually complex” since it raises issues related to venue and extraterritorial jurisdiction.
That failure, Elbaz wrote, was also in part due to the time the counsel consumed to obtain authorization to have transcripts of sealed hearing, which was necessitated by her presence in the Bureau of Prisons.
“Further, the case involves the contested removal of a juror after deliberations began as well as the inadvertent disclosure of privileged defense material to the prosecution,” said attorneys representing the Israeli woman who was put behind bars for 22 years.
Federal prosecutors said in March that Lee should be ordered to pay $28 million in restitution to investors who were defrauded in the global fraud she orchestrated and involved at least 21 defendants.
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In August, Lee Elbaz was found guilty by a Maryland jury in three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a vast binary options scam to defraud investors across the globe out of tens of millions of dollars.
Elbaz was arrested in 2017 after traveling to New York and was indicted in March 2018 alongside 15 defendants in the case.
The former CEO of Yukom Communications was the first to be tried, but Lissa Mel, an Israeli former reality show contestant, was the first of 21 defendants to be sentenced. Five have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors while nine other defendants, including Yukom owner Yosef Herzog, were found guilty in February.
Also in November, two former owners of the binary options websites BigOption and BinaryBook, together with 13 other employees, were charged in a Maryland court with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
According to the court papers, Yukom representatives, working under Elbaz’s supervision, operated two binary options brands which were used to misled investors by falsely claiming to represent the interests of investors while, in fact, their company profited when investors lost money.
Elbaz, who proudly called herself a “money-making machine,” trained employees to lie to investors and rigged the odds against them, while falsely guaranteeing returns of up to 40 percent.