iTrader saga continues

iTrader still still operating through outsourced call centers in the Philippines despite regulatory raid and arrest of key staff; Executives pretend to be from JPMorgan

Andrew Saks

One particular former employee alleges that the firm’s senior executives, based in Israel, have been posing as JPMorgan executives in a vain and lowbrow attempt at bolstering credibility on false pretenses

Two weeks ago, the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) performed a raid on the offices of retail FX firm iTrader at its main office in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Investigators from the ISA, according to Israeli news source The Marker entered the offices of the company on November 8 this year, and raided iTrader’s premises as well as took its owners, the company’s including CEO Mr Fishman, in for questioning.

In a very unusual move by a regulator, the ISA also arrested non-executive staff who were regular employees, including Daniel Swartz, sales manager; Naor Noah who is Head of Retention, Jonathan Tourjman, who is a Team Leader, as well as three trading ‘coaches’, namely Isaac Babler, Itam Durab, and Maor Jerby.

iTrader is one of several companies who had applied for a license to operate a retail FX brokerage in Israel under the new laws from the ISA, however they were not granted such a license.

The State of Israel requested that the firm ends its activities by July 14 this year, and that after that date, existing customers can only close customer accounts or and close their open positions. The ISA stressed that if the company continued to operate, it would be in breach of the law.

Mr. Fishman, according to the report, denied that the ISA made a request for them to cease their activities. “No authority asked us to shut down operations. Never happened such a request” he explained to national Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The Marker magazine published an article earlier this year relating to how iTrader uses aggressive marketing tactics to onboard new customers, in some cases promising a 90% yield, and conducted a telephone investigation posing as a customer, subsequently publishing a transcript (in Hebrew) of the overly sales-led conversation that the company’s representative had with the reporter, using tactics to make him deposit funds.

Since this occurrence, FinanceFeeds has received several accounts from sources across the world that have had close dealings with iTrader, and it has now transpired that, according to sources across the world that are close to this matter, some of which are current and former employees, is continuing to peddle its services via an outsourced call center in the Philippines, which is still operational.

The sources allege that the structure of the entity is as follows: iTrader outsources its binary options sales to a business process outsourcing (BPO) company called I.B.D marketing in the Philippines. These sources claim that iTrader is continuing to market iTrader’s services.

One particular former employee alleges that the firm’s (I.B.D Marketing) senior executives, based in Israel, have been posing as JPMorgan executives in a vain and lowbrow attempt at bolstering credibility on false pretenses, particularly with regard to the binary options division of the business.

“The company name that I refer to is iTrader which is from Israel” stated our source. “The company is operating inside the BPO Company named I.B.D. Marketing Inc. located at Clarkfield, Pampanga, Philippines” he continued.

“It is a binary option trading company. What they do is that in order to secure that the client will deposit funds to their company, the Israeli bosses often introduce themselves as brokers from JP Morgan.”

“Not only the bosses, but they also asked us supervisors to use these kind of tactics to secure the client to deposit funds. Due to my consience, I want to raise concern regarding this because it seems it is like a fraud” continued the employee. “Why use the name JP Morgan? This money that the clients deposits is the fruit of their hard work and will just be taken away from them in an instant. I am well aware of the recent reports their company’s main office at Israel have been shut down by Israel Securities Authority, therefore how come this company is still operating here in the Philippines? There is something suspicious regarding their activity and this may also destroy the image and reputation of JPMorgan” he concluded.

In addition to this, a current employee at the company explained to FinanceFeeds this morning “Thank you for raising my concern, because even us employees are afraid if there will be raid in our company here in the Philippines. The bosses of this division are named Beny Licis and David Elfassi(Uses Eric Falcon when he is introducing himself as a broker). We have 2 accounts inside I.B.D. Marketing Inc, one being iTrader, and the other is called FM Trader, I came from FM Trader then they’ve transferred me to iTrader. FM Trader uses the same tactics.”

Most certainly, this is not the first claim of this nature, therefore it is certainly something to bear in mind.

Indeed, the Philippines has been a very popular jurisdiction for the outsourcing of sales and retention call centers for gaming and less than reputable binary options firms over the last few years.

With stringent action by the ISA, which must be applauded, it certainly appears that the days of such antics are numbered, however to stem it entirely may well mean taking, as ISA Chairman Shmuel Hauser is seeking to do, a global view.

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