City Police follow US – actually send the squad against binary options fraudsters

Maria Nikolova

Police and Trading Standards visited offices in the City in an effort to clamp down on binary options fraud which has cost more than £59 million to victims.

In a largely expected move, given the worldwide crackdown on binary options, the City of London Police today reported that it had conducted a day of action on October 17, 2017. The action consisted of visiting 20 offices with the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards.

In co-operation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Police were able to gather intelligence on different types of investment fraud and, in particular, binary options fraud.

There are not many details about the results of the action day. For instance, one team discovered a business that had paid over three month’s rent upfront to the serviced office provider and then had disappeared. The authorities and the police will now seek to establish information about the company in question and to investigate whether it was possibly a boiler room.

The day of action used Operation Broadway tactics. This means that the police officers visited businesses occupying serviced offices and reviewed their compliance documents.

The City of London Police, City of London Corporation Trading Standards, Metropolitan Police, National Trading Standards ‘Scambusters’ Team, HMRC and the FCA, launched Operation Broadway in 2014. This was a London-wide intelligence-led drive to uncover and disrupt suspected ‘boiler room’ investment frauds operating out of some of the capital’s most iconic buildings in the heart of the UK’s main financial districts.

The action is barely surprising given the latest actions against binary options firms in the United States and Israel. As FinanceFeeds has reported, Lee Elbaz, a/k/a Lena Green, CEO of Yukom, the operator of BinaryBook in Israel, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at John F Kennedy airport in New York on September 14 upon arrival from Israel. The FBI alleged violations of 18 USC 1343 (Wire Fraud) and 18 USC 1349 (Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.) Each count carries a potential maximum 20 years in prison.

Earlier FinanceFeeds’ research has exposed how binary options firms like SpotOption manage to establish their offices in London.

Meanwhile, the number of people falling victim to binary options fraud is rising. A total of 2,065 people have reported being a victim of binary options fraud to Action Fraud since 2012, with the amount lost exceeding £59 million.

The UK government has sought to impose new rules set to boost transparency of Scottish Limited Partnerships, which are often fronting for binary options firms. And yet, most such companies have failed to comply with the new regulations.

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