On May 7, 2020, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it has charged the two Israeli citizens Tal Valariola and Itay Barak and their US partner Daniel Fingerhut with fraudulently soliciting tens of millions of customers and prospective clients to open and fund off-exchange binary options and digital asset trading accounts. They allegedly have facilitated the vast All In Publishing binary options schemes which have also been charged by the CFTC and SEC already (read more here in FinTelegram).
The CFTC complaint charges defendants Daniel Fingerhut and three companies that he worked with, Digital Platinum, Inc,, a Florida corporation, Digital Platinum, Ltd, an Israeli company, and Hoof Media EOOD (aka Huf Medyia Ltd), a Bulgarian company. Moreover, the CFTC also charges the beneficial owners of all three entities, the Israelis Tal Valariola and Itay Barak.
The Montenegro Connection
There is an interesting connection between the suspected Israeli Binary Options scammers Gal Barak, who has been imprisoned since 2019, and the German Uwe Lenhoff, who is also imprisoned. Hoof Media EOOD evidently rendered marketing services to Global Payment Solutions Podgorica DOO, a company registered Montenegro which was beneficially owned by Barak and Lenhoff and operated some vast binary options scams. It seems that Hoof Media also acquired victims forthe scams of Barak and Lenhoff.
The CFTC Case
Between October 2013 and August 2018, the defendants allegedly created fraudulent marketing materials that promised astronomical profits with no risk of loss and disseminated them via email spam and by making videos available online. According to the CFTC findings, they willfully aided and abetted All In Publishing LLC’s fraudulent binary options affiliate marketing scheme that solicited more than 59,000 clients which opened and funded trading accounts as a result of these fraudulent marketing campaigns. In total, they deposited more than $20 million in commissions to the defendants.
According to a new report by Simona Weinglass in the The Times of Israel, Tal Valariola is the son of Aaron Valariola, a retired Israel Police commander who led investigations into organized crime and financial crime. Itay Barak is the son of Avi Avraham Barak, a former director of several public-listed Israeli companies. Avi Barak also owns a 5 percent stake in the accused Digital Platinum Ltd. Like thousands of other Israelis, you have gone to the dark side of the Internet universe in the era of Binary Options and made your money with investor scams.