Prisoner board plane for extradition (Illustrative) 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy / Israel Police)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday to uphold a lower court ruling
granting a US request to extradite two Israeli citizens charged in the US in
connection with a fraudulent multimillion dollar lottery telemarketing
Michelle Carolin Yuval and Limor Yuval are two of 11 Israelis
arrested in 2009 and wanted on serious fraud charges in the US. Israel Police’s
Tel Aviv Fraud Division cooperated with the FBI to investigate the fraud, and in
2009 Israel agreed to comply with a US request that the suspects be extradited
to stand trial in the US.
In January, the US attorney for the Southern
District of New York announced that four Israelis had been indicted in the US on
charges related to their participation in multiple lottery telemarketing
schemes. Avi Ayache, Yaron Bar and Ian Kaye were arrested in Israel in January
2009; the fourth defendant, Shai Kadosh, remained a fugitive until his January
2011 arrest in Israel. However, to date, extradition orders against Michelle
Yuval and Limor Yuval have not been enforced, the result of an appeal they filed
against the 2010 Jerusalem District Court ruling to extradite
According to indictments and other documents filed in Manhattan
Federal Court from around 2005 to 2009, the defendants allegedly operated phony
lottery schemes from Israel, targeting hundreds of elderly US victims.
identify their victims, the indictment alleges, the defendants purchased names
and contact numbers of US residents from list brokers, and solicited information
from their victims about their finances by falsely telling them they had won
large cash prizes in lotteries.
The defendants allegedly defrauded their
victims of around $25 million by persuading them to pay “fees and taxes” to
receive the lottery prizes.
In the appeal, lawyers for Michelle Yuval and
Limor Yuval argued that even though an extradition treaty exists between the US
and Israel, the two defendants should remain in Israel because they allegedly
committed the offenses from this country.
Michelle Yuval, who gave birth
to a son while on remand, also appealed against the Jerusalem District Court’s
ruling to extradite her without her baby. She argued that this decision was
against Israeli public policy.
Against the appeal, lawyers for the state
argued that should the Supreme Court reverse the lower court’s decision and deny
the request to extradite the two defendants, that decision would mean Israel
agreed to shelter criminals operating within its territory who use both
technology and geographical distance to carry out their offenses and cover their
tracks. Refusing the extradition would damage Israel’s ability to cooperate with
other countries in the global fight against crime, the state argued.
refusing the appeals, the panel of justices – Miriam Naor, Esther Hayut and Neal
Handel – said that extradition was a legal instrument permitting global
cooperation in fighting crime, and that allowing defendants to refuse
extradition was against public policy.
Regarding Michelle Yuval, the
court said the US authorities would permit visitations between her and her son,
and in any case the child has already reached an age where he could no longer
stay with his mother in prison.
The US authorities have also agreed that
if Michelle Yuval is found guilty, she would be able to serve her sentence in
Israel, the justices noted.