This past August, I attended a criminal trial in Maryland. Thankfully, I was not the defendant. As many readers are aware, I was once a stock swindler that got busted for securities fraud and went to Federal prison for three years.
Plenty of haters of TradingSchools.Org love to shove my face in this dogshit mess. They often recount how I orchestrated a penny stock Ponzi scheme for $400 million, or $600 million, or some outrageous number. But they are all wrong. It was actually closer to one billion dollars. Yep, nearly a billion with a capital B. Get it correct people.
Actually, it was $956 million to be exact. But hey, what’s the difference in a few hundred million?
Regardless, I was awarded the much-coveted “prison ID card” and given a job washing dishes for three years. I went from living in a mansion and eating unlimited shrimp cocktail to living in a concrete box and eating way too much ramen noodles. My prison paycheck was also an embarrassment of riches — forty cents per day.
For your viewing pleasure, have a look at this complete and total shitshow…
Anyway, so this past August I attended a criminal trial in Maryland. But this wasn’t any ordinary criminal trial, this was the trial of Lee Elbaz.
Who is Lee Elbaz?
Back in 2015, TradingSchools.Org started receiving an angry rash of complaints about two related companies: Binary Book and Big Option.
Investors were complaining that they couldn’t get their money out of this Israeli based stocks and options broker. As it turns out, the persons that could not get their money out, they were the lucky ones. The unlucky people were the people that fell victim to the “bucket shop” that manipulated their trading platform so that investors were guaranteed to lose their investments.
I have written about these sorts of swindles in the past. Read about Meir Barak of Tradenet and how he is operating an offshore bucket shop that is also illegal in the United States. Article A and Article B describe how the scam works.
The Binary Book and Big Option company were aggressively offering Contracts for Difference and Binary Options wagers to clients throughout the world, with many located in the United States. When the money started disappearing, people started complaining. TradingSchools.Org received dozens of complaints. We recommended that investors immediately begin filing complaints with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or CFTC.
We also began writing articles warning investors that something was amiss, the company was likely a fraud, and that they should avoid the company.
Binary Book and Big Option sues TradingSchools.Org
As a result of our scathing articles of the company, TradingSchools.Org was threatened with legal action in the United States. However, after discovering that I would not ‘lay down’ to their demands and remove my articles, they calculated that the United States court system was a dead end.
Instead, they attempted to sue me in Europe citing libel. My response was not to respond. Why should I care what a European court thinks? I live in the USA, and we have robust protections concerning free speech.
In the end, they were able to get a default judgment from a defendant that never responded. Next, they took their toilet paper judgment and attempted to bully my website host into deleting all articles about them. When that didn’t work, they next attempted to bully Google into removing my content from the search engine rankings citing their European court order.
Once again, they fell flat on their face. In the United States, we have a law titled: The Speech Act of 2010, which virtually eliminates any foreign judgment relating to defamation, libel, or slander.
However, the company was not done with me yet! (Its amazing what scammers will do to keep their scam alive) They next began creating a bunch of websites to discredit me personally. Their point of attack was that since TradingSchools.Org is operated by an ex-Ponzi scheming stock scammer, that you could not possibly trust him.
Further, they argued that I “attempted to extort them for money” to remove my negative articles. That TradingSchools.Org was an elaborate “pay to play” scheme.
On and on this went for over a year. All the while, the complaints at the CFTC began to pile up and mount. Additionally, they were not aware that former employees of the company were simultaneously cooperating with the FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigations.
The owner of Binary Book and Big Option gets arrested
Finally, on September 14 2017, the owner of Binary Book, a lady named Lee Elbaz decided to fly to San Francisco to visit her aunt.
Little did Ms. Elbaz realize, that the FBI had been “watching” her for over a year. They scrambled to file a criminal complaint in Maryland District Court, desperate to catch the Israeli citizen because Israel will not extradite their citizens. As Ms. Elbaz plane landed at JFK airport, she unwittingly walked into the trap. She was immediately surprised to see her hands locked behind her back, and she was escorted to the jailhouse.
After she was arrested, it made the news and I savored a sweet moment of victory. In fact, I drafted an article that described what happened and my involvement.
The criminal trial of Lee Elbaz
About another year passed, and Lee Elbaz denied everything. She decided that going to trial, in front of an American jury was actually a good decision. Her argument was simple…that US investors had “legally” made stupid stock market wagers and they lost of their own accord.
As I sat in the courtroom and watched the witness testimonies play out, I could not help but think to myself “this lady is really screwed.” But as Lee sat in the defendants’ chair and stoically kept up with her stern defense, I could not help but imagine what her prison ID card would look like.
And I began to imagine how this lady was going to enjoy washing dishes in the Federal prison.
Finally, the jury returned the verdict…GUILTY. Lee was immediately shackled up and taken back to the jailhouse.
The sentencing of Lee Elbaz
On December 9, 2019, the judge will hand down his sentence. However, on September 4, the prosecution issued a sentencing recommendation that recommends that Lee Elbaz spend the rest of her natural life in Federal prison.
The prosecution noted that Lee Elbaz showed no contrition, nor any cooperation whatsoever. Additionally, they believe that she has hidden more than $100 million dollars in Israel.
So that she can never enjoy the fruits of her ill-gotten gains, they are recommending that she spend the remainder of her natural life behind bars. The judge will probably agree. They usually do.
Is a life sentence a fair sentence?
Some readers might be comparing my criminal conduct with Lee Elbaz. They are probably thinking, “Hey that Emmett asshole stole a billion and got three years. Why should she get life in prison?”
Well, let me explain. When I got arrested, I immediately cooperated and threw myself down at the mercy of the prosecutors. I immediately turned over all my bank accounts, real estate, securities, cars, gold bullion, furniture, jewelry, even the expensive clothing that I wore was handed over. The ONLY thing that I kept was a few thousand dollars to pay for my attorney.
And I told my attorney plainly, “I am guilty” and “Please negotiate the best possible deal.”
At the end of the day, they not only took everything from me. But my mother even sold her home and gave the proceeds ($100k) to help pay down my restitution. Everything was gone. And I mean everything. I consider myself very lucky.
Thanks for reading. Crime doesn’t pay. No amount of money in the world is worth even a single day in prison.