Lee Elbaz: “Money-Making Machine” From Israel

Ed.’s note: In Israel binary options were run as a massive fraud. If you were greedy and thought you could become wealthy – getting something for nothing – you probably deserved it if you lost your investment. And if you think this financial fraud is going on using binary options, what about massive technology transfers from America to Israel? Maybe Don the real estate guy can intercede on behalf of Americans in a plea to his friends in Israel?


Defrauding Americans for a Living

by Eve Mykytyn and Gilad Atzmon | August 6, 2019

Binary options fraud flourished in Israel for years before the industry was gradually outlawed by the Knesset which first made binary options illegal only for Israeli investors. Finally, in 2017 the Knesset managed to ban the sale of binary options altogether (with a three month grace period). The legislation followed superb  investigative reporting by The Times of Israel that began with a March 2016 article entitled “The Wolves of Tel Aviv.” At its peak, thousands of Israelis were employed by hundreds of Israeli companies engaged in the fraud.  

Despite the fact that an Israeli industry was defrauding Americans and Europeans, the American and European press have remained quiet about it. The US media has barely reported on the FBI’s arrest  or the trial of Lee Elbaz, CEO of Yukom Communications Ltd, an Israeli company accused of defrauding American investors out of millions of dollars. Maybe it is too much for the American MSM to advertise that a state that is pumped with billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money gives little in return and ran an industry designed to separate Americans from their savings.

Apparently the Hebrew press also ignored the issue. Maybe this is because, after spring 2016, only  non Israelis were being defrauded. Perhaps the Israeli press was intimidated. After breaking the story, The Times of Israel was subjected to a ‘welter of legal and illegal threats’ and intimidation some of which were delivered by Israel’s most prestigious law firms no doubt paid for by the billions scammed.

The Times of Israel once again brought to our attention the trial of Lee Elbaz that is presently before a jury in Maryland.

The Times of Israel reports that In closing arguments on August 1, prosecutor L. Rush Atkinson described Elbaz as someone who lied to investors about their chances of making money and lied about their ability to withdraw money once they had deposited it. If an investor came to understand that he had been duped or wanted his money returned for whatever reason, his money was suddenly unavailable.

A defense attorney said Elbaz did not condone the fraudulent tactics used by employees who worked under her supervision. Federal prosecutors alleged that far from being unaware of the fraud her employees were committing, Elbaz directed her sales agents to lie over the phone in addition to lying herself.

“In her own words, she was ‘a money-making machine.’ She was the center of a devastating fraud,” Atkinson said. “Her workers couldn’t remember a single client who withdrew the money they invested,” he added.

Elbaz’s defense attorney Barry Pollack displayed some pilpul* sophistry suggesting in his closing argument that being a “money-making machine” is not a crime.

Pollack is correct, some would even argue that making money is a mitzvah, yet making money by means of fraud is a crime even when the American press is too embarrassed to report about it. 

Pollack argued that Elbaz had drawn that line at a place she thought was proper, based on a ‘legal opinion’ offered by David Bitton, lawyer for Yukom Communications. Bitton had opined that under Israeli law it is not illegal for a business to lie unless that lie is specifically about the product they are selling. Did Bitton affirm that lying for the cause is a kosher procedure, at least in Israel? You can sell products under fake name. You can fake your credential and even invent your past as long as you don’t lie about your  (non existent) product.

Asked by her attorney whether she thought it was wrong to use a fake name when interacting with investors, Elbaz replied: “No. I saw a legal opinion that it was allowed and I was asked by the broker to do it and also not to say we are from Israel; some people don’t like it [for anti-Semitic reasons].”

For those with short memories, this is the second time we’ve  learned this month that Jews should be allowed to lie about their identity and even fake their passports because of anti-Semitism. ‘Explaining’ the fake Passport found in Jeffrey Epstein’s house his defense lawyer Marc Fernich wrote: “Some Jewish-Americans were informally advised at the time to carry identification bearing a non-Jewish name when traveling internationally in case of hijacking.”

“Did you know your employees used fake names?” prosecuting attorney Henry Van Dyck asked. “We were asked by our broker not to expose Israeli names, and anti-Semitic-wise we are Jewish, working with people who don’t like it.”

“Some names are difficult to pronounce,” she added, offering this as another reason that employees used what she referred to as stage names.

“Why did Austin Smith need a fake name?” asked Van Dyck. “What about Oren Montgomery?”

“It’s hard to pronounce,” she replied.

“Harder to pronounce than Bill Shneizer?” he asked, referring to the pseudonym used by an employee named Oren Montgomery.

Prosecutor Caitlin Cottingham said that far from being harmless lies, the fake names and locations Elbaz and other used were essential to the alleged scheme, and used for a simple reason. “They used fake names because they didn’t want to get caught,” she said.

Or maybe the Israeli employees were asked to hide their Jewish names, not because their clients were potentially ‘anti-Semitic’ but because this entire operation evokes bad memories of the wolves of Wall Street.  

* Pilpul – a method of Talmudic disputation among rabbinical scholars regarding the interpretation of notions, actions, rules, principles and  Scriptures.


Source: The Times of Israel

In bizarre twist, juror in binary options trial dismissed after overhearing talk

Deliberations in fraud case to begin again with alternate after juror tells Maryland judge he caught Hebrew conversation suggesting suspect Lee Elbaz is a bad person

By Simona Weinglass | August 6, 2019

In this photo from July 16, 2019, Lee Elbaz arrives at federal court for jury selection in her trial in Greenbelt, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

GREENBELT, Maryland — Jury deliberations in the fraud trial of Yukom Communications CEO Lee Elbaz took a bizarre turn on Tuesday when one of the jurors, juror number nine, told the judge that he had indirect contact with third parties over the weekend who had influenced his thinking about the verdict.

The juror was dismissed, an alternate juror was summoned, and jury deliberations began from scratch.

At 1:00 PM on Tuesday, Judge George Hazel convened the prosecution and defense teams and explained that on that morning, he had been approached by juror number nine, who said that he overheard a conversation on Sunday that had influenced his thinking and the fact that he overheard this conversation was weighing on his conscience.

According to the judge, the juror said that while at a local Maryland dining establishment Sunday, he had overheard a conversation taking place in Hebrew, and understood the conversation to be about Elbaz.

“The conversation had been in Hebrew,” said the judge. “He did not understand the conversation but he heard someone refer to her as a bad person, to that effect, and he also understood that something was missing from the case.”

The judge said the juror told him that this had impacted his personal view of the case, that he had been leaning toward a not guilty verdict and after he heard the conversation he began to lean toward guilty. Despite having heard this conversation on Sunday, the judge said the juror told him that he did not relay this to him until Tuesday morning, the fourth day of deliberations.

“He deliberated for a day with the rest of the jury and did not mention this to anyone else in the jury but believes it may have impacted his views,” Hazel said.

Please go to The Times of Israel to read the entire article.

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