Sentencing of ex-Yukom employee Shira Uzan, accused of binary options fraud, gets postponed

Maria Nikolova

Uzan, who testified against her boss Lee Elbaz, needs more time to collect information for her sentencing memorandum.

The proceedings against individuals associated with Israel-based Yukom Communications, a business at the heart of a large-scale binary options fraud scheme, continue in the United States. These proceedings target not only the CEO of Yukom – Lee Elbaz, who was convicted last month and is now facing a life prison sentence, but also the “sales guys” and other employees of Yukom.

As FinanceFeeds has reported, there are several cases linked to that of Lee Elbaz. One of these cases targets Shira Uzan. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud charged in a criminal information on December 21, 2018.

From January 2015 to September 2016, Uzan worked as a sales representative for BigOption and BinaryBook. It was the purpose of Uzan and representatives of Yukom, BigOption, BinaryBook and other entities, to obtain maximum deposit from investors and to take steps to ensure that investors lost money in their accounts – thereby making money for themselves and their brand in the process. The misrepresentations made by Uzan and the other co-conspirators included, inter alia, false statements regarding investors’ ability to withdraw their funds, as well as “bonuses” and “risk-free trades”.

Uzan testified in the criminal proceedings against Elbaz. She testified that Lee Elbaz hired her and directed her to participate in a training course when she started working at Yukom. Among other things, Uzan testified that she lied to clients about whether she had experience in financial markets (telling them she had 15 years of experience) and about how Yukom made money (telling clients she was paid commissions on winning trades). Uzan further testified and “after the one week of the training course, she continued to have training by the managers, by the CEO.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice determined the amount of restitution to be sought from Uzan – $1.8 million.

The sentencing of Uzan was initially scheduled for September 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. The defendant, however, has requested that the Court postpones the sentencing, as she is in the process of preparing a sentencing memorandum to support her sentencing requests to the Court. This sentencing memorandum includes the collection of various interviews of individuals, some of whom reside in Israel. Other information is seen to be pertinent and useful at the sentencing hearing is still in the process of being collected.

On September 16, 2019, Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the Maryland District Court agreed to postpone the sentencing.

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