Israeli citizen Lissa Mel pleads guilty in binary options fraud case in US

Maria Nikolova

Lissa Mel, whose activities are linked to those of the ex-CEO of Yukom Communications Lee Elbaz, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

There has been some development in the cases linked to the US criminal proceedings targeting Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications.

Yukom Communications provided investor “retention” services for two websites, known as BinaryBook and BigOption, promoting and marketing binary options. The indictment alleges that in her role as CEO of Yukom, Elbaz, along with her co-conspirators and subordinates, misled investors using BinaryBook and BigOption by falsely claiming to represent the interests of investors but that, in fact, the owners of BinaryBook and BigOption profited when investors lost money.

As per the latest Court filings, defendant Lissa Mel (a/k/a “Monica Sanders”) has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Sentencing for defendant Mel has been scheduled for June 17, 2019, at 2:00 PM. The case against her continues at the Maryland District Court.

Lissa Mel was charged on November 16, 2018 by criminal information with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was previously charged by complaint on September 13, 2018.

Lissa Mel is an Israeli citizen who is alleged to have participated in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the sale and marketing of binary options. The conspiracy concerns two binary options brands – BinaryBook and BigOption. There are several types of misrepresentations made by representatives of these “brokers” to investors, including misrepresentations about the suitability of binary options as investments, the deceptive use of “bonuses” and misrepresentations about the names, location and qualification of representatives “assisting” investors. The Government has alleged that this conspiracy resulted in over $80 million in losses to investors.

The criminal complaint against Lissa Mel, aka “Monica Sanders”, alleges she participated in the conspiracy from at least in or around May 2015 through at least May 2016.

There are a couple of other cases linked to the prosecution of Lee Elbaz. One of these cases targets Liora Welles, also known as “Lindsay Cole,” “Lindsay Wells,” and “Lindsay Taylor”. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud charged in a criminal information on December 19, 2018. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22, 2019.

Another case targets Shira Uzan. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud charged in a criminal information on December 21, 2018. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22, 2019.

On January 18, 2019, the Court issued an Order establishing that the US Government may provide notice to potential crime victims in the cases linked to the criminal case targeting Lee Elbaz. The notification will happen through publication on a website maintained by the Department of Justice as an alternative to providing individualized notice.

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