DOJ, FBI warn about fraudulent recovery firms targeting clients of BinaryBook and BigOption

Maria Nikolova

Individuals claiming to be calling on behalf of the DOJ and the FBI have contacted customers of binary options firms falsely claiming that they are working to refund money to investors.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are alerting the public, especially individuals who sent funds to BinaryBook, BigOption, or other binary options companies, to be aware of impostors who claim to be able to recover the money the investors lost due to the activities of these fraudulent binary options firms.

The DOJ and the FBI have recently learned that individuals claiming to be calling on behalf of the DOJ, the FBI, or accounting firms hired by law enforcement agencies have contacted investors falsely claiming that they are working to refund money to investors. Scammers appear to be targeting individuals who have previously sent money to binary options entities, especially BinaryBook and BigOption. These individuals request certain information from investor victims, such as drivers license and banking information, falsely promising that this information is necessary to process refunds.

The FBI and DOJ stress that they have not authorized any employees or affiliates of BigOption, BinaryBook, or any other entity to act on their behalf in contacting investors. The public is reminded that the FBI and DOJ do not call private citizens requesting money or bank account information.

Individuals receiving unsolicited calls can file a complaint through the FBl’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or contact the DOJ at [email protected].

Last week, the DOJ named fifteen individuals, including two former company owners, charged in a superseding indictment unsealed on November 8, 2019, for their alleged participation in a scheme evolving around BigOption and BinaryBook.

The names include: Yakov Cohen, 27; Yosef Herzog, 54; Ori Maymon, 33; Nissim Alfasi, 33; Elad Bigelman, 37; Runal Jeebun, 29; Sabrina Elofer, 28; Afik Tori, 27; Anog Maarek, 28; Oron Montgomery, 38; David Barzilay, 41; Gilad Mazugi, 36; Hadas Ben Haim, 34; Yousef Bishara, 32; and Nir Erez, 29. They were charged in an indictment returned in the District of Maryland with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

The indictment alleges that beginning in 2014, the defendants and their 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 indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators all worked for an Israel-based company called Yukom Communications, a purported sales and marketing company. The indictment further alleges that Cohen and Herzog had ownership interests in Yukom Communications and other related entities that were used to perpetrate the fraud scheme.

In a related case, Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukom and a citizen of Israel, was found guilty in August 2019 after a three-week jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Five additional former employees of Yukom and its affiliated companies have also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

As FinanceFeeds has reported, the DOJ has indicated that it will hold Lee Elbaz liable for client losses of more than $140 million.

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