The former CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications Lee Elbaz, was found guilty for her participation in a binary options scheme to defraud investors in the United States and across the world, the Times of Israel reported.
Elbaz, 38, from Israel, was convicted in the District of Maryland with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Scheduled to be sentenced on December 9, each of the four counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
She was arrested in 2017 after traveling to New York and was indicted in March 2018 alongside 15 defendants in the case. Five have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors while Elbaz was the first to be tried.
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The FBI found in its investigations that Yukom brands have betrayed investors to the tune of $145 million between 2016 and 2017, while only $20 million of this amount was paid back to defrauded victims during this period.
Elbaz trained employees to lie to investors
According to the court papers, Yukom representatives, working under Elbaz’s supervision, operated two binary options brands, BinaryBook and BigOption, 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 and her co-conspirators also misrepresented the expected return on binaries trades, using the terms of “bonuses,” “risk free trades” and “insured trades” to assure them that their investments are safe. They also provided investors with false names and qualifications, and falsely claimed to be working from London.
Elbaz, who proudly called herself a “money-making machine,” trained employees to lie to investors and rigged the odds against them while falsely guaranteed returns of up to 40 percent. Federal prosecutors in Maryland also said that representatives of BinaryBook and BigOption misrepresented how investors could withdraw funds from their accounts, and they didn’t tell them that their company only makes a profit when customers lose money.