US authorities cast wider net in fight against binary options fraudsters

Maria Nikolova

Sales representatives for BigOption and BinaryBook are charged with fraud, as the number of criminal cases related to the illicit activities of Yukom Communications grows.

Whereas the start of the trial against Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukom Communications – provider of investor “retention” services for BinaryBook and BigOption, approaches, the number of criminal cases related to these proceedings continues to grow.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has published an update concerning Lee Elbaz’s case which continues at the Maryland District Court. Two additional related cases have been filed in the District of Maryland. Both cases are pending before U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang.

Defendant Austin Smith (a/k/a “John Ried”) was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a criminal information on February 25, 2019. Arraignment has been scheduled for March 14, 2019 at 9:30 am.

Defendant Yair Hadar (a/k/a “Steven Gold”) was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a criminal information on March 7, 2019. Arraignment has been scheduled for March 21, 2019 at 9:00 am.

FinanceFeeds has obtained Court information about Hadar and Smith.

From in or about November 2014 through in or about August 2016, Hadar worked as a sales representative for BigOption at Yukom.

From in or about August 2015 through in or about January 2016, Smith worked as a sales representative or otherwise supervised BinaryBook representatives at Numaris Communications. The latter was an Israel-based business that provided sales and marketing services, including retention services for BinaryBook. Numaris co-ordinated its work with Yukom. In correspondence and other communications, Smith identified himself as an ‘expert trader’ and ‘senior broker’ for BinaryBook.

As per the charges, Hadar and Smith conspired to commit offenses against the United States, to wit and wire fraud by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises. It was the purpose of the conspiracy for Hadar and Smith and other representatives of Yukom, Numaris, BinaryBook, BigOption 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 brands in the process.

There are at least three other cases related to the lawsuit against Lee Elbaz. In one of them, 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.

Read this next

Retail FX

Italian watchdog red flags Olympus Brokers, UnicoFX and Allfina Group

Italy’s Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has shut down new websites in an ongoing clampdown against firms it accuses of illegally promoting investment products in the country.

Retail FX

XTB revenues hits zł1.45 billion in 2022, Q4 earnings disappoint

Poland-based Forex and CFDs broker, XTB has reported its final results for Q4 of 2022 and the full fiscal year ending on December 31, 2022, showing one of its most successful corporate years.

Executive Moves

Lirunex Limited recruits Waleed Salah as head of MENA sales

Maldives-based brokerage firm Lirunex Limited has secured the services of Waleed Salah, who joined the company in the role of its head of sales for the MENA region.

Executive Moves

Trading 212 parts ways with co-founder Borislav Nedialkov

Trading 212 has a void to fill at its FCA-regulated business in London, following the departure of two key players, Raj Somal and Borislav Nedialkov.

Digital Assets

Binance acquires troubled crypto exchange GOPAX

Binance, the world’s largest digital asset trading platform, has reportedly acquired a majority stake in the troubled South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange GOPAX.

Digital Assets

Kraken exits Middle East, closes UAE office

Digital currency exchange Kraken will close down its operations in Abu Dhabi, UAE and lay off the majority of its team focused on the Middle East and North Africa.

Industry News

CFTC comments on ION Cleared Derivatives issues after Russian-linked hack

“The ongoing issue is impacting some clearing members’ ability to provide the CFTC with timely and accurate data. As this incident unfolded, it became clear that the submission of data that is required by registrants will be delayed until the trading issues are resolved.”

Industry News

FCA took down 14 times more misleading ads in 2022 thanks to technology

The FCA has made significant improvements to the digital tools it uses to find problem firms and misleading adverts. These improvements have enabled it to work through a much larger number of cases compared with 2021.

Executive Moves

HKEX appoints ex-Goldman Sachs Matthew Cheong to lead platform’s focus on derivatives

“He has worked for a number of the world’s leading investment banks and his experience will be invaluable to HKEX as we continue to enhance our derivatives product offerings and build on our innovative and robust platform business, connecting capital with opportunities.”

<