Multimillion-dollar investment fraud strategy has resulted in federal charges in Maryland against four women who worked for an Israel-based company.
Yukom Communications employees pretended to be from other countries, lied in their professional qualifications and embraced “stage names,” police say. They guaranteed returns of around 40 percent. And they didn’t tell investors that the company managing their”binary options” trades only made money if its clients lost money, according to the FBI.
Police say they followed a script for reassuring Investors: A broker boasted of winning up to 95 percent of his trades. Sales representatives promised a customer she’d be a millionaire within a year if she did not withdraw her five-figure investment. “If you win, I win,” the agent told the girl, according to a FBI agent’s affidavit.
A national trial was scheduled to begin in Maryland On Jan. 8 for Lee Elbaz, an Israeli citizen who served as CEO of Yukom, which provided sales and marketing services for internet-based companies with the brand names BinaryBook and BigOption. However a judge agreed Dec. 18 to postpone her trial forever. The judge allowed her defense lawyers from a New York law firm to withdraw from the case and be replaced, saying they had failed to properly prepare for trial.
wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was detained in 2017 after traveling to New York.
Prosecutors in Maryland have registered related charges against three other women who worked for Yukom. Shira Uzan and Liora Welles were charged this month with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The same charge was filed in November against another defendant, Lissa Mel.
Welles and Uzan, both of whom worked under Elbaz as sales representatives, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges during separate hearings recently and are scheduled to be sentenced in March.
BinaryBook received customer deposits totaling nearly $99 million from the second quarter of 2014 through the fourth quarter of 2016 and returned just under $20 million to its customers during this period, according to documents mentioned in the FBI agent’s September 2017 affidavit.
An email instructed BinaryBook sales representatives to Target retirees, Social Security recipients, pension holders and veterans as clients, according to a court filing. Elbaz’s indictment says three victims were residents of Gaithersburg, Laurel and Annapolis, Maryland.
The plot’s victims also include Eugene and Penelope Timmons, of Kansas City, Missouri. They dipped into life savings to spend approximately $110,000 through BinaryBook over nearly two decades.
“It was all a mess and a scam,” said Eugene Timmons, 82.
The Couple thought they were talking to experienced brokers in London. Penelope Timmons, 72, said BinaryBook’s website initially created the illusion that they were making money.
“We could not get our money out. They all kept doing was handing us off to others,” Penelope Timmons said. “Once you realize that these people have taken you, it is very
Tom Barron has Bachelors Degree from Michigan State, MBA from University of Miami and worked as equities trader for Bank of America. When he is covering investment news, he is spending time with his family. Hobbies include golf and travel.