Pending Criminal Division Cases

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 Cherrywood Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770.


UPDATE – On August 19, 2020, defendant Lee Elbaz was ordered to pay $28 million in restitution.

December 19, 2019: On December 19, defendant Lee Elbaz was sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment.  Restitution will be determined at a later date.

In addition, on November 20, 2019, defendant Austin Smith was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $486,199.00 in restitution.

On November 21, 2019, defendant Shira Uzan was sentenced to 4 months of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,819,595.00 in restitution.


The sentencing hearing previously scheduled for defendant Lee Elbaz on December 9th, 2019, at 2 PM, has been rescheduled for December 19, 2019, at 9:00 AM.

Sentencing for defendant Lee Elbaz has been scheduled for December 9, 2019, at 2 PM

In addition, the sentencing hearings have been updated for the following defendants:

Sentencing for defendant Shira Uzan has been rescheduled for November 21, 2019 at 2:00 PM. 

Sentencing for defendant Austin Smith has been rescheduled for November 20, 2019 at 9:00 AM.

On September 23, 2019, defendant Yair Hadar (a/k/a “Steven Gold”) was sentenced to 8 months of imprisonment, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,200,000 in restitution.

On September 20, 2019, defendant Liora Welles (a/k/a “Lindsay Cole,” “Lindsay Wells,” and “Lindsay Taylor”) was sentenced to 14 months of imprisonment, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $2,395,310 in restitution.

On August 23, 2019, defendant Lissa Mel (a/k/a “Monica Sanders”) was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day of incarceration, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and was also ordered to pay $288,024 in restitution.

In addition, the sentencing hearings have been updated for the following defendants:

Sentencing for defendant Austin Smith (a/k/a “John Ried”) has been rescheduled for a date to be determined.

In addition, sentencing for defendant Shira Uzan (a/k/a “Shira Baror” and “Emily Laski”) has been rescheduled for October 24, 2019.

Victim Impact Statement:  If you would like to submit a Victim Impact Statement you may do so by mailing the Victim Impact Statement below to: Victim Witness Unit, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, Room 4416, Washington, DC 20530. You also may submit the Victim Impact Statement via email at Victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov or by fax at: (202) 514-3708.

Victim Impact Statement (PDF)

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 VictimAssistance.fraud@usdoj.gov.


On August 7, 2019, defendant Lee Elbaz was found guilty for orchestrating a scheme to defraud investors in the United States and worldwide by fraudulently marketing financial instruments known as “binary options.  The defendant was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

In addition, the sentencing hearings have been updated for the following defendants:

Sentencing for defendant Liora Welles (a/k/a “Lindsay Cole,” “Lindsay Wells,” and “Lindsay Taylor”) has been rescheduled for September 20, 2019, at 9:30 AM.  

Sentencing for defendant Shira Uzan (a/k/a “Shira Baror” and “Emily Laski”) has been rescheduled for September 20, 2019, at 2:00 PM

Sentencing for defendant Yair Hadar (a/k/a “Steven Gold”) has been rescheduled for September 23, 2019, at 2:30 PM.


The sentencing hearings have been updated for the following BinaryBook defendants:

Sentencing for defendant Lissa Mel (a/k/a “Monica Sanders”) has been scheduled for August 23, 2019, at 9:00 AM.  The court docket number for defendant Mel is 18-cr-00571 (D. Maryland).

Sentencing for defendant Liora Welles (a/k/a “Lindsay Cole,” “Lindsay Wells,” and “Lindsay Taylor”) has been scheduled for August 16, 2019, at 9:30 AM.  The court docket number for defendant Welles is 18-cr-00613 (D. Maryland). 

Sentencing for defendant Shira Uzan (a/k/a “Shira Baror” and “Emily Laski”) has been scheduled for August 16, 2019, at 2:30 PM.  The court docket number for defendant Welles is 18-cr-00608 (D. Maryland).


With regard to the two additional related cases filed in the District of Maryland, both defendants have now pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  

Defendant Austin Smith (a/k/a “John Ried”) pleaded guilty on March 14, 2019.  Sentencing has been scheduled for September 3, 2019 at 9:30 AM.

Defendant Yair Hadar (a/k/a “Steven Gold”) pleaded guilty on March 21, 2019.  Sentencing has been scheduled for August 23, 2019 at 2:30 PM.


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.  The court docket number for defendant Smith is 19-cr-87 (D. Maryland).

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.  The court docket number for defendant Hadar is 19-cr-108 (D. Maryland).


On January 29, 2019, defendant Lissa Mel (a/k/a “Monica Sanders”) 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 trial date for defendant Elbaz has been set for July 16, 2019, at a time TBD.

In addition, three related cases have been filed.  All are pending before Judge Chuang: 

Defendant Lissa Mel (a/k/a “Monica Sanders”) 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.  The court docket number for defendant Mel is 18-cr-00571 (D. Maryland).

Defendant Liora Welles (a/k/a “Lindsay Cole,” “Lindsay Wells,” and “Lindsay Taylor”) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud charged in a criminal information on December 19, 2018.  Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22, 2019 at 9:30 AM.  The court docket number for defendant Welles is 18-cr-00613 (D. Maryland). 

Defendant Shira Uzan (a/k/a “Shira Baror” and “Emily Laski”) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud charged in a criminal information on December 21, 2018.  Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22, 2019 at 2:30 PM.  The court docket number for defendant Welles is 18-cr-00608 (D. Maryland).


For information about the charges in this case, please click here.


Because of the court’s schedule, hearing dates could change on very short notice. If you plan on attending, you may want to contact the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov.

Updated November 5, 2020

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