DOJ continues to receive statements from BinaryBook and BigOption victims

Maria Nikolova

Several days before the scheduled sentencing of binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz, the Department of Justice asks to submit to the Court more victim statements.

The sentencing of Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukom Communications, a business providing investor “retention” services to binary options firms like BinaryBook and BigOption, is getting closer, but the volume of complaints from victims of the fraudulent schemes related to Yukom is not subsiding. This becomes clear from documents filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) with the Maryland District Court earlier this week.

The DOJ requests that the Court accepts additional victim statements that have been submitted after the deadline of December 2, 2019.

Let’s note that, on November 25, 2019, the government filed, as part of its sentencing submission, statements from fourteen victims of Lee Elbaz, as well as reports of interviews involving an additional four victims. The DOJ explains that, subsequent to its filing of the sentencing submission, the Government has continued to receive and identify additional statements from victims, including statements that have been submitted after December 2, 2019.

In an effort to comply with 18 U.S.C. § 3771(4) and other operative statements, and to ensure that victims are reasonably heard at Elbaz’ sentencing, the government wishes to submit to the Court additional statements from BinaryBook and BigOption victims, in order to make the Court aware of the submissions.

The sentencing of Lee Elbaz is scheduled for December 9, 2019. The sentencing memorandum by the Government is sealed so there is no certainty on what sentence the US authorities are pushing for in this case. And yet, from previous DOJ filings with the Court, there are indications as to the approximate sentence the defendant is facing.

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.

In November this year, the DOJ said it will hold defendant Elbaz jointly and severally liable for the entire restitution and loss figure of $140,318,619 in this binary options fraud case.

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