Funds Recovery Promotor Austin Smith Pleaded Guilty To Binary Options Fraud

The U.S. prosecutors have filed charges against two Israelis suspected of online investment fraud, one of whom, Austin Smith, has pleaded guilty. Smith is the owner of Wealth Recovery Services International and allegedly helps victims of binary options fraud. Austin Smith (a/k/a “John Ried”) was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a criminal information on February 25, 2019. Smith and the second defendant Yair Hader are involved in the indicted Yukom case around its former CEO, the Israeli Lee Elbaz.

Austin Smith pleaded guilty and was released to his parents’ custody on $300,000 bail, Simona Weinglass reported in The Times of Israel. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 3, 2019. The second Israeli Yair Hadar (a/k/a “Steven Gold”) was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a criminal information on March 7, 2019.  

“Austin Smith and others known and unknown, did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other and others, both known and unknown, to commit offenses against the United States, to wit, wire fraud, that is knowingly and with intent to defraud, having devised and intended to devise, a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises and knowing concealment concerning a material fact or matter.”

U.S. prosecutors charge sheet against Austin Smith

Smith worked as a sales representative for the illegal binary options broker site BinaryBook at Numaris Communications which was an Israel-based business that provided sales and marketing services and retention services for BinaryBook. Numaris co-ordinated its work with Yukom. Smith presented himself as an ‘expert trader’ and ‘senior broker’ for BinaryBook.

Besides Smith and Hadar, for more people are indicted in the Yukom case. They have all been involved in binary options fraud around the two illegal broker sites BigOption and BinaryBook.

  • Lee Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukom. She has not pleaded guilty, her trial date has been set for July 16, 2019.
  • Lissa Mel (a/k/a “Monica Sanders”) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Sentencing for defendant Mel has been scheduled for June 17, 2019.
  • Liora Welles (a/k/a “Lindsay Cole,” “Lindsay Wells,” and “Lindsay Taylor”) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22, 2019.
  • Shira Uzan (a/k/a “Shira Baror” and “Emily Laski”) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud charged.  Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22, 2019. 
Austin Smith and Lee Elbaz are involved in the binary options fraud case Yukom
The Yukom Binary Options Fraud Case

The Funds Recovery Scam

It is a sad truth that many of the binary options fraudsters now offer their fund recovery services. Just look at the paid Google search results when searching for brokers or related terms, for example. One of these former binary options-fraudsters who morphed into the fund recovery business is Austin Smith, who promises with his Wealth Recovery International (WRI) and his partner Tami Hamm to get investors their money back.

Because I worked in the industry, I understand how these companies operate. I feel a responsibility to go ahead and help people.

Austin Smith (Source: Jewish Telegraph Agency, April 2017)

While we are not claiming that WRI is a fund recovery scam we definitely question their approach which is not in line with European laws. WRI uses similarly aggressive methods as the binary option fraudsters when acquiring clients. They work with customer data from the illegal brokers, contact the potential victims and terrorize them with aggressive phone calls. Neither the data protection guidelines nor other legal or moral norms are respected in their actions. The acquisition of “funds recovery” customers is carried with the very same boiler room methods applied in the binary options industry.

Not only WRI’s fund recovery approach is questionable, to say the least. They are also violating securities law in the United States. The U.S. SEC has issued a public alert against WRI for violation of securities laws. WRI has raised unauthorized investor funds in the USA and was therefore placed on a public warning list by the SEC on October 31, 2018.

In light of the binary options fraud, the aggressive and unlawful methods and the SEC’s warning, the legitimacy of funds recovery people like Austin Smith is at least questionable. Cheated investors should be very careful when dealing with Austin Smith and his Wealth Recovery International.

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