United States v. Lee Elbaz
Court Docket No.: 18-cr-00157 (D. Maryland)
Court Assigned: This case is assigned to the Honorable Theodore D. Chuang, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, United States Federal Building and Courthouse, 6500 Cherywood Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
NOTICE: The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) are alerting the public, especially individuals who sent funds to BinaryBook, BigOption, or other binary options companies, to be aware of scams in which individuals claim to be working to refund investor funds. The FBI and DOJ have recently learned that individuals claiming to be calling on behalf of the DOJ, the FBI, or accounting firms hired by law enforcement agencies have contacted investors falsely claiming that they are working to refund money to investors. Scammers appear to be targeting individuals who have previously sent money to binary options entities. These individuals request certain information from investor victims, such as drivers license and banking information, falsely promising that this information is necessary to process refunds.
The FBI and DOJ have not authorized any employees or affiliates of BigOption, BinaryBook, or any other entity to act on their behalf in contacting investors. The public is reminded that the FBI and DOJ do not call private citizens requesting money or bank account information and to never give out unsolicited requests for personal information to callers that you don't know. Individuals receiving such calls can file a complaint through the FBl’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or contact the DOJ at the email address below.
Criminal Charges: On March 22, 2018, Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of the Israel-based company, Yukon Communications, was charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud for her alleged participation in a scheme to defraud investors in the United States and across the world in financial instruments known as “binary options.”
The indictment alleges that Yukom provided investor “retention” services for two websites, known as BinaryBook and BigOption, that were used to promote and market purported binary options, and that those binary options were fraudulently sold and marketed. The indictment further alleges that in her role as CEO of Yukom, Elbaz, along with her co-conspirators and subordinates, misled investors using BinaryBook and BigOption by falsely claiming to represent the interests of investors but that, in fact, the owners of BinaryBook and BigOption profited when investors lost money; by misrepresenting the suitability of and expected return on investments through BinaryBook and BigOption; by providing investors with false names and qualifications and falsely claiming to be working from London; and by misrepresenting whether and how investors could withdraw funds from their accounts. Representatives of BinaryBook and BigOption, working under Elbaz’s supervision, misrepresented the terms of so-called “bonuses,” “risk free trades” and “insured trades,” and deceptively used these supposed benefits in a manner that in fact harmed investors, according to the indictment.
The information on this website will be updated as new developments arise in the case. If you have any questions, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail).
Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that an indictment contains allegations only, and that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.
Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. Section 377I(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.
If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Victim Witness Unit; fax: (202) 514-3708; or email: email@example.com. If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.
Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will put you in touch with the prosecutor.