US Govt opposes request by binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz to travel to Israel

Maria Nikolova

The ex-CEO of Yukom Communications wants to pay a visit to her old grandfather but the US Government believes she poses a serious risk of flight.

Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukom Communications, who stands accused of binary options fraud in the US and awaits trial there, is trying to go back to Israel. This becomes clear from the latest documents in her case filed with the Maryland District Court.

Let’s recall that Elbaz was arrested by the FBI in September 2017. The Indictment charges Lee Elbaz with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. The Indictment alleges that Elbaz participated for over three years (from approximately May 2014 and continuing through approximately June 2017) in a fraudulent scheme involving the sale and marketing of binary options – including as the Chief Executive Officer of Yukom Communications. Yukom was an Israel-based business that provided sales and marketing services, including investor “retention services,” for two internet-based businesses that sold and marketed binary options with the brand names BinaryBook and BigOption.

The latest Court filings reveal Elbaz is trying to go back to Israel. In a motion dated March 29, 2019, Elbaz says she has learned that her 91-year-old grandfather has been hospitalized in Israel and is critically ill. Elbaz moved to amend her conditions of release to permit her to travel to Israel for a short visit accompanied by her third-party custodian, Ms. Limor Elbaz, so that she can say good-bye to her grandfather. Magistrate Judge Sullivan has denied her motion. Now, Elbaz wants the Court to review Magistrate Judge Sullivan’s Order and moves to modify her conditions of release to permit her to travel to Israel to visit her grandfather.

On Monday, April 1, 2019, the US Government submitted its response in opposition to the defendant’s motion. The United States believes that U.S. Magistrate Judge Sullivan correctly concluded that Elbaz poses a serious risk of flight, if permitted to return to Israel.

The Government notes that Elbaz is a foreign national who is pending trial on an indictment charging her with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The trial is scheduled to commence on July 16, 2019. The United States continues to believe that this defendant poses a serious risk of flight under the Bail Reform Act. If the Defendant is permitted to depart the United States and travel to Israel, there is no guarantee that she will return for trial. Further, Elbaz is a citizen and resident of Israel with limited ties to the United States and the United States cannot use compulsory process to gain her presence in court.

Finally, if Elbaz is permitted to return to Israel and chose to remain there, the United States would have to commence the extradition process in order to return her to the United States for trial. The extradition process from Israel, particularly involving Israeli citizens, is extremely lengthy, the Government explains, and the delay would deprive the public and victims of this conspiracy from a timely and just resolution to this case. In addition, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services also opposes the modification.

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