The trial of an Israeli woman who is accused of running a fraudulent forex binary options scheme in which she allegedly scammed hundreds of thousands of pounds out of investors has taken an unusual turn.
The trial of Lee Elbaz, which is taking place in the US, saw the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) release conversations from her phone.
Voice recordings show that she called herself a “fucking money-making machine”, and also boasted that she could create revenue of millions of dollars per month while she was working as CEO at the websites BigOption.com and BinaryBook.com.
Binary options, however, are notorious in the trading world – and are widely considered to be scam assets.
In Elbaz’s case, the asset classes offered were foreign exchange pairs, cryptocurrencies and “contracts for difference” (CFDs) – a leveraged product which allows traders to increase their effective stake by trading on the margins.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, that’s not my thing, but I’m a fucking money-making machine”, she said during a phone call to an associate.
“I started three years ago, when the company had six employees and was bringing in $30,000 a month”, she is also recorded as saying. “I brought the company to 140 workers just in Israel and $12 million a month.”
Elbaz was taken into custody in September 2017 at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City. Her indictment came in March 2018, and she faces one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three charges of actually committing wire fraud.
The trial so far has revealed a number of startling claims about Elbaz’s alleged behaviour, which occurred at a number of firms.
The brands were operated by a variety of companies based in locations around the world, and this included Yukom Communications – a firm led by a man named Yossi Herzog, who has now been indicted by the US.
He is currently based in Israel, but the American government has recently attempted to extradite him.
A man named Larry Burton, who is a US resident, claimed during the trial that he was scammed out of $140,000 by one of the sites.
In total, it is believed that investors lost more than $145 million over the course of the firm’s existence.
According to Elbaz’s recorded phone call, Herzog was “a marketing genius” with “unbelievably good ideas”.
She also revealed some insight into his character, saying that “he’s very impulsive”.
At the time of the publication of the indictment against her, the US Department of Justice said Elbaz’s firm “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”.
Elbaz is an Israeli citizen. Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, actually banned binary options trading two years ago, but there is a suggestion that it continues to operate under a range of other facades, such as forex trading.