US Govt pushes for $1.8m bond for binary options fraudster who wants off electronic monitoring

Maria Nikolova

The US Government insists that Shira Uzan, a sales representative for BigOption and BinaryBook, presents a serious risk of flight.

The latest developments around the US legal proceedings against binary options fraudsters linked to Yukom Communications, an Israel-based business that provided investor retention services to brands like BinaryBook and BigOption are beginning to resemble the plot of a crime novel. Less than a fortnight after Lee Elbaz, aka Lena Green, the former CEO of Yukom, had her request to travel to Israel turned down (again) by the Maryland District Court, another of the participants in the conspiracy is trying to modify the conditions of her release. 

Shira Uzan, also known as “Shira Baror,” and “Emily Laski”, has requested to be released from electronic monitoring. The US Government has filed its response to the defendant’s request earlier this week.

Let’s recall that, 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”.

The United States of America has earlier this week submitted its response to Uzan’s motion to modify her conditions of release – she is asking to be freed from electronic monitoring. The Government notes that the defendant is a foreign national who was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud upon entry of her plea of guilty on December 21, 2018 and is pending sentencing before the Maryland District Court on August 16, 2019. The United States continues to believe that this defendant poses a serious risk of flight.

Uzan seeks to be released from electronic monitoring so that she may be able to immerse in a mikveh bath in accordance with her religious practices without damaging the electronic monitoring equipment. The US Government notes that it does not seek to infringe upon the defendant’s free exercise of her religion, however, it should be noted that her need to immerse in the mikveh bath was not raised with the United States nor the Court, when the initial release conditions were fashioned.

If the Court grants Uzan’s request to remove the electronic monitoring device pending sentencing, the Government requests that the Court impose additional release conditions to ensure the defendant’s return to court, for example, restricting her to full home confinement, except to attend religious services, and increasing the current bond to an amount greater or equivalent to the loss amount directly attributable to the defendant.

The US Government estimates that Uzan is directly responsible for approximately $1,819,595 in investor losses. She is now a convicted felon, facing an advisory sentencing guideline range of imprisonment for 46-57 months, with the financial means to flee the United States and return to Israel.

If Uzan were to flee, the United States would have to commence the extradition process in order to return her to the United States for sentencing. The extradition process from Israel, particularly involving Israeli citizens, is extremely lengthy and the delay would deprive the public and victims of this conspiracy a timely and just resolution to this case.

U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services for the District of Maryland also reports that it will not be changing its recommendation on pre-sentencing release conditions for Uzan at this time.

Accordingly, the US Government requests that if the Court grants Uzan’s motion to release her from electronic monitoring, that the Court impose the following additional conditions of release:

  • i) Restricting Uzan to home confinement, except for activities related to the practice of her religion, to include religious services and the performance of rituals;
  • ii) Increasing the existing property bond to $1,819,595, secured by either residence or the defendant’s spouse’s business.

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