Trial opens for Israeli woman charged in $145M fraud scheme

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A federal trial begins this week for an Israeli woman charged in the U.S. with directing a scheme to defraud tens of thousands of investors across the globe out of tens of millions of dollars.

Jury selection for Lee Elbaz’s trial began Tuesday morning in Maryland. She’s one of 15 defendants charged in the case and the first to be tried. Five of them have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Elbaz was CEO of an Israel-based company called Yukom Communications. She’s accused of engaging in a scheme to dupe investors through the sale and marketing of financial instruments known as “binary options.”

A separate indictment against nine other defendants says the scheme cost investors more than $145 million worldwide.

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