Former CEO of Israeli Sales and Marketing Company Charged for Role in Fraudulent Binary Options Scheme
For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
The former CEO of the Israel-based company Yukom Communications, a purported sales and marketing company, was charged in an indictment filed on March 22, 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.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Lee Elbaz, 36, of Israel, was charged in the District of Maryland with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
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.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Trial Attorneys Ankush Khardori and Tracee Plowell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section plays a pivotal role in the Department of Justice’s fight against white collar crime around the country.
Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.
Updated March 23, 2018
Press Release Number: 18-358