Are you a binary options salesman “just doing a job”? You could be arrested and charged as an accomplice
As EUROPOL holds an international summit on how to enforce the law onto binary options firms, it is worth asking whether working as an employee in that particular industry sector is really worthwhile, or whether it constitutes being an accomplice to what is being considered by international regulators and police departments as fraudulent
“I am just doing my job”.
This is the parlance that has been bandied around among young members of staff at binary options brands during the last decade with liberal vigor, partly in an attempt to convince themselves that, despite the dubious nature of the sales procedure and the even more dubious nature of the weighted gambling product that is neatly disguised as a trading environment, they are somehow earning an honest living and that it is those at the top that are to blame, and not those who are, well, just doing their job.
During the past year, the heat has finally been turned up and the binary options brands that have rushed to prominence very rapidly, forming a back-street subculture that generates an estimated $10 billion per year globally in revenues which are in many cases the deposits of the clients, as there is absolutely no live market feed.
National newspapers, government regulatory authorities responsible for maintaining integrity in the financial markets sectors across the world, and even the UK’s Serious Fraud Office and City of London Police which recently deemed off-exchange binary options which are touted by brands operated by online marketing and lead buying entities rather than financial markets experts, to be ‘the largest internet fraud in British history.’
In Israel, where the vast majority of binary options brands either originate, or obtain their market making and platform services, what has become a vast business sector that has drawn disdain from the highest level of Israeli politics, including Israel Securities Authority chief executive Professor Shmuel Hauser, many young people who have recently arrived in the country, often from very good families in the Jewish diaspora, found themselves accepting positions in binary options call centers, lured by potentially high bonuses which would go some way toward mitigating the high cost of living in Tel Aviv.
Once realizing that they are unable to make a living on the average salary, doing an honest day’s work, and in some cases with a less-than-business level ability to speak or read Hebrew before arriving in the country, the perceived easy route is to work in a binary options call center, fully aware of the nefarious nature of its core ethos, and taking comfort that they are not the orchestrator, but simply someone doing their job.
As the end of the road for the binary options sector appears, with Israel’s Knesset (parliament) having had committees on abolishing it, national regulators globally having outlawed it from the lands over which they preside, and the vast shadow that it is casting over the genuine electronic trading industry becoming increasingly less welcome, some large firms are beginning to cut and run.
Very recently, Banc de Binary, one of the largest brands in the entire business, shuttered its entire operations and ceased its business activities.
FinanceFeeds has received sufficient information over the last few weeks to understand that many more will follow.
Whilst Professor Hauser’s plea to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to give him more powers to quash the entire industry globally were very much from the heart as well as the mind, it is widely understood that a law may be passed to outlaw any form of marketing or service provision to binary options from within Israel, hence making the running of these businesses impossible, despite their ‘layered’ nature, in which offshore entities provide services to customers in unrelated jurisdictions.
Simply, the laws may well just put a stop to the ease of doing business, making it no longer viable to carry on, hence staff and management will simply move on to something else. Last week Dead Sea Products and Green Card lottery scams, this week binary options, next week something else that relates to lead recycling and stealing money from unsuspecting people on false pretenses.
Or will it?
For those employees that think they are just a cog in a machine, receiving their salary every month, and that the owners and orchestrators of the binary options business within which they are simply a mere employee, there may be a rude awakening in store.
Last week, EUROPOL, which is the European Union’s federal law enforcement agency that is headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands and is responsible for unifying the 28 EU Member States in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism, issued its perspective on how to deal with binary options fraud.
Bearing in mind that EUROPOL is a law enforcement agency rather than a financial markets regulatory authority, it has powers to go back through the entire records of each brand and prosecute those involved, including people who picked up the telephone, called people whose names were on leads, and persuaded them to deposit, knowing full well how the zero-sum game of your deposit is my profit binary options works.
It would be churlish to assume that any 25 year old binary options salesman would be able to convince a Europe-wide law enforcement agency that they were not aware of the nefarious nature of the product that they were selling, thus making them an accomplice and a key component in this fraudulent activity.
The regulators may well stop the practice continuing, but the likes of EUROPOL and the Serious Fraud Office have the power to conduct full enquiries and hold responsible every individual who took part, regardless of location.
The EUROPOL summit on binary options fraud that was held two weeks ago included officials and investigators from most European countries as well as the FBI, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), and the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) of France.
One a global will to prosecute arises, ‘just doing my job’ may not suffice, and could be recorded by the global authorities as ‘just helping my employer commit fraud, hence becoming an accomplice’.
Recently, the Israel Securities Authority raided the office of iTrader, which is a warehouse FX brokerage that was selling to Israeli customers. Not only were senior executives arrested, but members of sales staff were also arrested, hence a global ‘clear out’ could well take place.
Outside of the recent developments within EUROPOL to put a global stop to this activity and investigate its perpetrators, France, a country which has witnessed its population being a large target for binary options fraudsters, had begun working with the Israeli police quite some time ago in order to locate and hold to account 15 operators of FX and binary brands.
Now it is escalating. The question is, why defile oneself by seeking employment within these entities at any level? One has to wake up in the morning and consider one’s employment to be gainful, not harmful, regardless of the perceived level of unaccountability.
Food for thought, indeed, as even Natan Sharansky, the head of the Jewish Agency which is the government department responsible for the moving of Jewish people from the diaspora to live in Israel, has begun encouraging new arrivals not to work in binary options firms and seek employment among the wealth of other intelligent and interesting sectors that exist in the highly advanced nation.
Mind how you go….