'Investment broker' received 2.5 million NIS from investors

The law finally caught up with a Nahariya resident, who deceived people into giving her money under guise of 'investment broker.'

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Ido Ben Porat,

Money (illustrative)
Money (illustrative)
Flash 90

An indictment was issued in the Haifa Magistrate's Court against Avishag (Rivka) Chugi, 38, a former resident of Nahariya, who was extradited from France last week for crimes of fraud, stealing from clients and violation of the law against money laundering.

From the indictment it emerged that between March 2010 and December 2011, the accused addressed potential investors and suggested that she would invest their money in the stock exchange.

Chugi fraudulently presented herself as an investment broker working for an investment company and promised to invest their money in her company with the risk of a loss totalling 2-5% of the principal.

During the relevant periods, Chugi was unemployed and had no income from any other source besides the money transferred to her by investors. Moreover she had no legal license to engage in investment advice, marketing or portfolio management and never attained the requirements needed for such a license.

Chugi promised to invest the monies in new issues of commodities, foreign currencies and ETF's. She also promised to provide bank guarantees and/or security checks to underwrite the investments. Chugi did not provide bank guarantees and in most cases gave a security check from her own personal accounts.

Chugi deceitfully told the plaintiffs that the transfer was made to her personal account in order to give them the same benefits as company employees. She also signed investment agreements with some of the plaintiffs.

After the money was transferred to Chugi's account, in order to invest them as had been agreed, Chugi mixed the money with her own personal money and with other investors' money, and invested the proceeds in high-risk investments which were not the investment channels she had obligated to invest in. She also began to use the deposits for her own personal benefit.

Chugi fraudulently received a total of 2,560,000 shekels, ($680,652) stole the money which had been deposited with her for investment, and continued to make fraudulent use of the money for three months.

When the plaintiffs demanded their money back, Chugi returned to some of the plaintiffs some of their investment, a sum amounting to 990,000 shekels (263, 221). For the most part, the returned money belonged to other investors.

Chugi escaped Israel in December 2011. In April 2015 she was arrested in France and extradited at Israel's request. The state has requested that she be remanded until the end of proceedings.