Alleged binary options fraudster Yehuda Belsky wants to have electronic monitoring condition vacated
Defense counsel argues any defrauding of investors can occur without Belsky’s use of a personal computing device.
Alleged binary options scammer Yehuda Belsky, also known as “Jay Bell,” wants the Court to modify the conditions of his pretrial release as to free himself of electronic monitoring. The relevant motion was submitted at the New York Eastern District Court on Monday, October 29th.
Belsky is charged in a three-count Indictment, alleging (1) mail fraud; (2) failure to register as a Commodity Trading Advisor; and (3) misappropriation of customer funds. These allegations arise out of claims that Belsky made misrepresentations in the solicitation and use of investor funds and instead used such funds “he received to margin, guarantee and secure the trades and contracts of one or more customers,”, for his own personal use and profits. Also, the indictment alleges that Belsky traded in options contracts without being registered as required by federal regulations and the relevant regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and for intentionally misappropriating customer funds without being registered as a commodity trading advisor.
At the presentment in September this year, Pretrial Services initially recommended a condition of pretrial release to include no computer usage at all by Belsky while on bail. But afterwards the parties jointly agreed this condition was overbroad and, instead, the government proposed that the condition should include electronic monitoring by Pretrial Services of all of Belsky’s personal devices that connect to the Internet.
Now, however, the defense counsel argues that the monitoring software is “incredibly comprehensive”.
The software implemented by Pretrial Services is called “RemoteCOM.” It records everything Belsky does on the monitored device, including but not limited to: websites visited, software programs accessed, all text and e-mail communications. Unrelated content that the government is authorized to access includes issues concerning Belsky’s minor children or wife; medical illnesses or conditions; family private affairs; and even attorney-client communications.
According to the defense, the RemoteCOM monitoring is impermissibly overbroad violating Belsky’s First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and the limiting principles and mandates of the Bail Reform Act.
More interestingly, the defense counsel says that the government and Pretrial Services view this monitoring condition as necessary to prevent Belsky from soliciting and receiving funds from others for the purpose of making investments for which he is not licensed, such as commodities, futures and options trading. But, the defense argues, any defrauding of investors can occur without Belsky’s use of a personal computing device. According to the defense counsel, the same conduct can be completed using other people’s computers, or without computer usage at all, by, for example, phoning in investments on trading exchanges.
Therefore, defense counsel insists that the condition of electronic monitoring should be vacated.
The case is captioned USA v. Belsky (1:18-cr-00504).