Binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz keeps buying time as she appeals from her verdict

Maria Nikolova

Elbaz secures another extension of time to file the opening documents as she appeals from her 22-year prison verdict.

More than six months have passed since it became clear that binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz was appealing from her 22-year prison verdict. Information about the case, pending at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, has been scarce. The latest filings with the Court indicate that Elbaz has managed to secure more time to prepare her appeal.

On June 30, 2020, the Court granted Elbaz’s motion for extension of time to file the opening brief and joint appendix in this case for one month from the current due date of July 2, 2020, until August 3, 2020. In support of her motion, Elbaz argued that the Court appointed a counsel to handle the appeal. This counsel had no familiarity with the facts of this case.

She notes that the appeal concerns a conviction and sentence for various fraud counts related to an international options trading organization and insists that the appeal is unusually complex, because it raises issues related to venue and extraterritorial jurisdiction. It also involves questions regarding the propriety of depositions taken internationally.

All of these issues, Elbaz says, exist in addition to the normal issues that arise after a multi-week jury trial involving international financial fraud.

Thus, counsel requested an additional month to draft the opening brief and compile the joint appendix in this case.

Let’s recall that, according to the evidence presented at trial, Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukom Communications, and her co-conspirators fraudulently sold and marketed binary options to investors located in the United States and throughout the world through two websites, known as BinaryBook and BigOption. The evidence showed that in her role as CEO of Yukom, Elbaz, along with her co-conspirators and subordinates, misled investors using BinaryBook and BigOption by falsely claiming to represent the interests of investors when, in fact, the owners of BinaryBook and BigOption profited when investors lost money; by misrepresenting the suitability of and expected return on investments through BinaryBook and BigOption; by providing investors with false names and qualifications and falsely claiming to be working from London; and by misrepresenting whether and how investors could withdraw funds from their accounts.

Representatives of BinaryBook and BigOption, working under Elbaz’s supervision, misrepresented the terms of so-called “bonuses,” “risk free trades” and “insured trades,” and deceptively used these supposed benefits in a manner that in fact harmed investors, the evidence showed.

Five co-conspirators who worked for Elbaz, including Liora Welles, Shira Uzan, Yair Hadar, Austin Smith, and Lissa Mel, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, and have been sentenced. Welles, Uzan, Hadar, and Smith all cooperated against Elbaz and testified at her trial in July 2019. In addition, an indictment charging an additional 15 of Elbaz’s alleged co-conspirators, including Yossi Herzog, was unsealed early in 2019.

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