The U.S. indictment alleges that between 2014 and 2017 Yossi Herzog and Kobi Cohen together with the other 13 defendants and unknown or unnamed co-conspirators fraudulently operated the Yukom Scheme which marketed binary options through the two websites BinaryBook and BigOption. The indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators all worked the Israel-based Yukom Communications Ltd, a purported sales and marketing company owned by Cohen and Herzog. The company vanished since then and was most likely renamed. Herzog and Cohen remain at large while their former CEO Lee Elbaz was sentenced to a 22-year prison term and $28 million in restitution payments.
Just another vanished entity
The Israeli Yukom Communications Ltd. appears to no longer be operating, the U.S. CFTC said in a recent legal filing. In fact, the company has also miraculously disappeared from the open-source companies register OpenCorporates and other corporate directories. Obviously someone invested time and money to make the company disappear. This style fits perfectly with cybercriminals and scammers. We have already noticed the disappearance of scam sites and their people in many cases.
Yukom Communications was the company where the convicted Lee Elbaz worked as CEO. It was one of three operators of illegal boiler rooms in the Yukom Scheme. There was also Numaris Communication Ltd in Israel and Linkopia (Mauritius) Ltd in Mauritius. Linkopia’s director was Runal Jeebun, a resident of Mauritius and Numaris office was run by the Israeli Ronen Roytman.
The vanished kingpins
Like the Yukom entity, the beneficial owners and principals of the scheme, Herzog and Cohen, have disappeared and/or are out of reach of authorities. The Times of Israel refers to Yossi Herzog as a fraud kingpin who has personally made millions of dollars from the Forex and binary options scam.
For years, binary options operative Yossi Herzog allegedly stole millions while appearing to be above the law. Prosecutors caught up with him — then let him escape.Simona Weinglass in the Times of Israel (How the US Justice Department let an alleged Israeli fraud kingpin get away)
According to FinTelegram’s records, Herzog has been in the Forex business for more than two decades and has left a trail of blood. He was one of the masterminds and principals of the gigantic 4XP forex scheme (read here on FinTelegram) that was created in 2008 and can be considered as one of the incubators of the later Israeli binary options industry. Herzog is proud of his work as he told the Knesset in a hearing in 2017.
I am asking you to hear me out. Even begging you. I have been in the forex and binary options field for 20 years. I sell forex and binary options all over the world and in Israel. I am proud of this.Yossi Herzog in an August 2017 Knesset Hearing (link)
Yakov “Kobi” Cohen, Herzog’s business partner and co-defendant in Yukom indictment as well as in the CFTC complaint used to be a resident of Mauritius. Currently, he is said to be living in DR Congo where he runs the sports betting venture Winner (www.winner.bet), according to Simona Weinglass of the Times of Israel. DR Congo officially extradites to the United States but hardly does so in practice.
The price of greed
The former apprentice and longtime companion of Herzog, Lee Elbaz, will rot in prison for the next few years. At best, she’ll come out sometime around her 50th birthday. Then she still has $28 million to pay to the victims. She’s bound to wonder if it was worth it. She’ll feel sorry for herself. That’s the price you pay for being the scammer who gets caught. The uncaught colleagues then use the stolen millions to hide and pay their lawyers. The price of greed.
The generation of Yossi Herzog and his fellow forex and binary options perpetrators have produced a lost start-up generation in Israel. Even worse, the former startup nation of Israel turned into a home of international cybercrime, where state-of-the-art digital technology is developed and used to defraud people around the world. And strangely enough, the political establishment and law enforcement in Israel seem not to bother. Not at all!