Lee Elbaz, CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications Ltd. on Wednesday was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The Maryland-based Jury found Elbaz to have orchestrated a vast scheme to defraud tens of thousands of investors worldwide of $145 Million.
Elbaz is scheduled to be sentenced on December 9 by a federal judge. Each one of the counts Elbaz is accused of has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Elbaz was the CEO of Yukom Communications Ltd. An Israeli binary options company based in Caesarea. The company operated under different brands throughout its years of operations. Elbaz was found to have a critical role in the defrauding of investors worldwide, training workers in the company to do so.
Another 14 other defendants are standing trial for involvement in the binary options scheme. Five of the defendants have pleaded guilty and have cooperated with the investigation, and nine others were found guilty in February.
A binary option is a financial investment in which the payoff is either a fixed sum or nothing at all. The stakes are set up in such a way that over time, the investors inevitably lose money.
The FBI is investigating binary option scams across the world, and the Israeli police have tied the industry to criminal syndicates. The FBI estimates that scammers defraud $10 billion annually worldwide.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has banned retail binary options trading all together. After many years of extensive operations in Israel, a law banning binary option was approved by the Knesset in October 2017.