Court postpones sentencing of binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz

Maria Nikolova

The sentencing, which was initially scheduled for December 9, 2019, is reset for December 19, 2019.

The sentencing of binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz has been rescheduled, according to a notice filed by the Maryland District Court where the criminal proceedings against the former CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications continue.

The notice filed on December 6, 2019, says that the sentencing of Elbaz, which was initially scheduled for December 9, 2019, is now rescheduled for December 19, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Theodore D. Chuang at the United States Courthouse located at 6500 Cherrywood Lane in Greenbelt, Maryland.

If either party seeks a change in the defendant’s detention status or release conditions, that party must notify opposing counsel, Chambers, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, and, if necessary, the U.S. Marshals Service of that request in advance of the proceeding.

In a separate order, the Court granted the Government’s motion to submit additional statements by victims of fraudulent binary options schemes BinaryBook and BigOption.

In August 2019, Elbaz was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three substantive counts of wire fraud. Each count implies a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The government has estimated that Elbaz’s advisory sentence will be life imprisonment, which reflects not only the substantial losses caused by her scheme but also enhancements for her role as a leader of the scheme, using of sophisticated means to defraud investors, causing substantial financial hardship to victims, and targeting vulnerable victims.

Between May 2014 and June 2017, Elbaz orchestrated a scheme to defraud tens of thousands of binary options clients out of over $100 million. As a manager and CEO of Yukom Communications, Elbaz was responsible for hiring, training, and overseeing dozens of employees. As the evidence at trial showed, the defendant trained her employees and co-conspirators to lie to clients about, among other things: whether investors made money in binary options; the nature and safety of “investments” in binary options; gains and rates of return clients could expect to receive; the alignment of financial interests between Yukom and its clients; the education, credentials, and experience of the defendant and her employees; and whether clients could withdraw funds from their accounts. At the defendant’s direction, her employees lied to clients and used other fraudulent tactics to convince clients to send money and to prevent clients from withdrawing their funds.

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