So… It seams like this is the never ending story of Cecile traveling around the world and hurting more people with her wrongdoings. The last victim was someone that reached out to me via this blog. I requested to this person share what was the story with Cecile and got the email below.
I have removed any names as this person wanted to remain anonymous. For full power of SEO I am copy pasting below the affidavits that this person shared with me which discuss in detail the experience with Cecile Ortlieb.
In reference to police case number XXX/2013
CECILE ORTLIEB AKA DEBORAH YAMIN
This is a detailed report about our company’s interaction with Cecile Ortlieb, also known as Deborah Yamin. The latter is a name she has taken by deed poll. She uses the names somewhat interchangeably, depending on circumstance. Hereafter she is referred to variously as Cecile Ortlieb or Deborah Yamin, according to the name she was using at that time.
We were first introduced to Cecile Ortlieb over a year ago, in mid-April 2012, by our friend AB. We invest in Israeli growth companies, and Cecile Ortlieb had held herself out to AB and others as the manager of a large fund that was seeking various cleantech business opportunities to invest in. After a friendly and professional correspondence, we made an arrangement to meet in Israel at our offices, but due to an apparent confusion on dates, Cecile Ortlieb did not come and we agreed to meet on a later occasion.
When I was in London in early May 2012, I met up with Cecile Ortlieb at Pasley-Tyler, her private members’ club, at 42 Berkeley Square. We had what seemed to be a normal conversation, in which I described a variety of opportunities I thought matched the requirements of her fund.
Correspondence before and after this meeting was copied by her to several other parties: NY (who we assumed to be related to her in some way), EF, and SA (formerly Clayton), all of whom seemed to be in related businesses and have some connection to Deborah Yamin. None of them replied to the emails.
By mid-June, we had seen nothing suspicious in her behaviour or correspondence, and she had suggested that our first fund, including some companies other than cleantech, might be of interest to her investors. After we sent through some information on this, there was a long hiatus, so I also emailed NY to see what was going on. I did not receive a reply from him, and assumed that the lead had gone cold.
In early August, I got an email from her, copying AG, LL, NT, GD and TZ. I had never met or heard of these people before, and the email related to picking matters up where we had left off, and cooperating with a company called WG Arazim. I subsequently found out that WG stood for World Glance, being an acronym (I think) for GD, LL, AG, NT, Cecile (TZ being involved as legal counsel).
The email asked me to confer with Amir on something, but I did not hear back from him. Instead, as I was in London anyway, I met Cecile Ortlieb with my business partner DC, on 9th August, for breakfast on Marylebone High Street. He will attest that there was still at this point no indication at all that Cecile Ortlieb was anything other than what she held herself out to be, albeit that we were concerned to carry out some due diligence to substantiate her claims to represent investors.
Following this meeting, she asked us in writing to put together a term sheet around the investment opportunities we had amassed, and mentioned that this would now be through World Glance. She also confirmed that TZ was assisting with the transaction; I had met TZ before in Tel Aviv and was aware that she was a lawyer at a good firm here.
She made some sensible points, and opened the email correspondence to Tally and to NR, another lawyer at the same firm (ERM). At this point she told us that the funds were coming from a group, who we did some basic research on, and seemed to be a plausible partner. Still we heard nothing directly at any point from anyone else on this correspondence.
We began to consider how this transaction was going to come together, and then had some other business priorities, coupled with the September holidays in Israel, and the next time we were in touch with Cecile Ortlieb was in mid-October, when she wrote to me in what I would characterise as pidgin Hebrew (it needed to be read in a French accent to understand), asking how I was, what was new, and re-establishing contact.
By that time, we had prepared an executive summary of the projects, which I emailed to TZ and NR as well as Cecile Ortlieb. She also enhanced her credibility by introducing us, when she was in Israel at that time, to BG, who was part of Terra Venture Capital, a company we had been doing some business with and knew very well.
The next correspondence was under the name Deborah Yamin, and asked us to sign a simple fee agreement, which was not particularly in Deborah Yamin or her company’s favour. Deborah Yamin kindly asked at that time after us, as this was in November when rockets were falling in Tel Aviv – I was away. I signed electronically, and eventually received a counter-signed version, signed Deborah Ortlieb Yamin. The agreement was circulated by Deborah Yamin to NY and DC.
I had a lengthy call with Deborah Yamin on Sunday 2nd December 2012, in which we discussed in detail her Swiss investors. She sounded very credible in describing them, and she also emphasised that for tax and legal reasons, they were looking to deploy funds before the end of the year, hence there was now some urgency to the potential transaction.
We began to prepare more documentation and also to start conducting some research into the underlying investors she was telling us about. By then, she had mentioned enough about them for us to be able to identify a fund in Geneva called Astronne, which checked out as she had said, to be a family office for some ultra-high net worth Mexicans, led by MZ.
She then asked to carry out some due diligence on us, ostensibly on behalf of these investors, by speaking to AB, an investor in our AR investment vehicle. Andy reported nothing untoward in this interaction. Deborah Yamin also copied in Michael Jampel at the UK government’s Office for Renewable Energy Deployment.
Deborah Yamin then put us in direct contact with MZ, as well as providing us the names of other funds she claimed to have agreements in place or in negotiation with to invest through her company, and making other direct introductions to CC and BC.
By about 10th December she had arrived in Israel, and I met her at DC house. She claimed that her accommodation had fallen through, and DC agreed to let her stay on his couch. At this point, we had received no explanation from her as to why she was now going by the name Deborah and not Cecile, but we assumed it was just her choice of Hebrew name.
She told us that her family in Jerusalem were being unexpectedly difficult about accommodating her, and that if we were closing this transaction in Tel Aviv anyway, it might be easier if she could stay with one of us for a few days. This did not seem unreasonable, and at that time we had had no warning signs that she was unstable or to particularly doubt anything she had told us.
I was willing to allow her to stay in a spare room at my flat for a couple of nights, I think starting on 11th December. We worked with her on the transaction a little each day that week, and we began to think she was not particularly competent or experienced, and to wonder why none of her partners seemed to be involved. Every time we gently probed on this issue, we received what seemed to be a measured reply, so we persisted. Throughout, she was pleasant and thoughtful on a personal level, and a good house guest.
Hence by the weekend, when she asked if she could stay instead of going to Jerusalem and being stuck there, I was happy to oblige. The first moment I felt that there might be something wrong with her mentally was on the Friday night, when she was repeatedly asked not to touch or interfere with the hot pans of oil for frying or the pressure cooker, because of the obvious dangers, but did so twice. Luckily nobody was harmed, and she seemed quite upset at being reprimanded for her own safety.
During the week of 16th December, we began in earnest to draft legal documentation for the proposed fund. At this point we brought in our in-house counsel SP to assist remotely from the UK. Over the next week, he raised the same concerns as us regarding the lack of anyone else guiding her, but none of us had reason to suspect anything malicious. We had however determined to raise our level of investigation of her company and background, and to talk to mutual contacts.
On Tuesday 18th December, she mentioned that her partner on the transaction, RE, was away in Greece, and we would need to speak to him when he returned. We managed to identify him as working for Ishra, an Israeli investment advisory and consulting firm, where I had a good contact, NT. I reached out to him for his thoughts, and he confirmed the same concerns as we had.
I began to question Deborah Yamin more intensively about aspects of concern in the transaction, not least that it was all becoming “too good to be true”. She replied that the best thing to do was to simply get on a plane to Geneva and Zurich, and meet the investors she had introduced us to already by email. This seemed a reasonable suggestion, and she duly emailed them, copying me in, to begin setting these meetings up.
Although by then we felt this was not a normal transaction, Deborah Yamin demeanour was very calm and practical, and there was not one particular moment when we thought she was lying to us. So I agreed to visit Geneva and Zurich from 18th-21st December, to meet her contacts. I first insisted on Deborah Yamin signing a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that she, World Glance would cover my expenses in doing so, as well as any related costs such as SPs time, which she did.
At this time, Deborah Yamin was still staying in my flat, and I insisted that she should not stay there on her own, and was to leave on the morning of 18th December when I headed to the airport. By the time I landed in Geneva, it had transpired that she had not left until David appeared and insisted that she do so, and also I was alarmed to find that meetings she seemed to have set up were not going to materialise. When DC also told me she was very evasive about still having my front door key, we both became extremely alarmed about the professional and personal situation that was developing.
Nonetheless, Deborah Yamin continued to claim calmly that there were just some practical difficulties in organising these meetings, and that her family in Jerusalem and other friends in Tel Aviv were unable to accommodate her. DC graciously allowed her to stay on his couch again for one night, and took the chance to monitor her behaviour closely.
From this we managed to glean a number of names of people she had been in contact with, and started to conduct a frantic investigation of her story. We rapidly found out that everyone she knew had gone through a similar process as us, until finding that things did not add up, and then cutting all contact with her.
On Thursday 19th, I was travelling from my hotel in Geneva (where I had by then spent a totally fruitless 24 hours having no meetings), to the meeting she had set up with GM, a senior staff member at an arm of Edmond de Rothschild Bank, when she sent me a garbled email in pidgin Hebrew, which I understood to mean that the meeting was cancelled and I should not attend.
I went to the office anyway, and was told by the receptionist that the meeting was cancelled two days previously (ie before I even flew) by Deborah Yamin herself. I persuaded the receptionist to put a call through to MM, who was very evasive and barely wished to take the call. He told me he was out of town, and did not wish to have any connection with Deborah Yamin or any party relating to her, and terminated the call abruptly.
That evening, I got word from David that he had been forced to ask her firmly to leave his flat, and at the same time, Deborah Yamin started contacting me, trying to be allowed to stay in my flat, and insisting that I could not possibly have rented it to someone else (a friend was staying, and I used this as an excuse for why she could not return).
I determined to try and get some value out of the trip, and got in direct touch with MZ, to try and meet him. On the morning of Friday 20th, we had a coffee in downtown Geneva. We quickly established that he had had some similar experiences, having been introduced by Edward and Sharon, who had then cut their ties with her. It was a useful meeting at least.
I then headed by train to Zurich, where of course my other meetings did not materialise. By then she was harassing DC and insisting I should let her stay in my flat. By then we were becoming seriously concerned for her mental state, having established beyond doubt that she had built a complex fantasy around the business transaction. On the Friday afternoon, we contacted RE at Ishra, as he was back from Greece, and told us he would “take care of her” and ensure nothing bad happened. He did not, to our knowledge, do very much in this regard. It later transpired that late on that Friday night, she rang the doorbell of my flat for several minutes, as she had nowhere else to stay. Luckily I had warned my friend not to let her in or acknowledge her, and eventually she went away.
We were seriously enough alarmed by then to contact the French Consulate emergency number and report what was going on with Deborah Yamin (as Cecile Ortlieb, she holds a French passport). On the Saturday, I spoke to NY at last, and found out that they used to be a couple, and in business together, and that they had separated on both counts due to her erratic behaviour, which she refused to get treated.
NY told me that this separation had accelerated the deterioration of her mental state quite alarmingly, culminating in him cutting all ties, after she repeatedly harassed his family and friends, and even changed her name to Yamin, presumably to imply some connection.
When I spoke to the father of Cecile Ortlieb, I quickly realised he shared the same fantasies as his daughter, and simply denied that anything was wrong with her, in fact accusing me of being part of a larger conspiracy to derail the important project Deborah Yamin was involved with!
Deborah Yamin’s mother was more normal and very concerned, but pointed out that there was nothing they could do to stop her, as she had not been hospitalised or detained by the police (at which point one would hope that she could be diagnosed and held for compulsory treatment).
By the Sunday morning I was back in Israel, and Deborah Yamin continued to act as if everything was normal. We determined that we would try and catch her in an act of deception towards us, or something that would allow us to take proceedings that might result in her detention and treatment, and perhaps allow us to recoup our expenses as per the MoU.
After another day of continuing to humour her stories, and her not showing for a meeting we had set, on 24th December we told her in writing that we were not continuing with the transaction until our expenses were paid. She then vacillated and threw some random accusations at us, before putting us in touch with DM at Charles Schwab to process our expenses. Danielle had no idea who we were, had no record of Cecile Ortlieb or Deborah Yamin being a client, and could not help. Deborah Yamin threw various other emails at us, claiming other parties were settling or had settled this bill, and also started to email interchangeably as Deborah Yamin and Cecile Ortlieb.
We also met TZ during this week, and she confirmed that her firm ERM was never retained to act for Deborah Yamin or any company she represented, and in fact had cut their ties originally after Deborah Yamin claimed to represent an entitity, agreed an engagement letter and their letter of instruction, told ERM to start work, and then was disowned by the entity when ERM sent them instruction terms and asked for payment for hours of work done.
We agreed to sit with TZ and Deborah Yamin in a public place and continue to work on the potential transaction, hoping that something tangible and positive might emerge, or at the least, that we might be able to demonstrate that she was carrying out an act of fraud or deception. By having her sign a serious and binding document, we hoped to put her in a position which might allow us to press charges and force her to get help. Deborah Yamin continued to believe that ERM were representing her.
On Friday 29th December, she asked if she could come that afternoon to my flat to print this document and others, and then did not want to leave when I told her I had to go to dinner. Feeling uncomfortable about her presence and unwillingness to depart, I took the liberty of hiding my spare keys, leaving just a bunch of miscellaneous keys that do not fit any locks that I know of.
Eventually she made a call to “a friend” from my phone and told me she was going to be picked up and would stay with this friend.
As everything else she had said was suspect and I was concerned for her wellbeing, I later called the number again and it turned out to be NT, who said she had refused to collect her and in fact have anything else to do with Deborah Yamin for some time, following her outstaying her welcome on a previous trip, and proving to be a problematic business partner. She told me that the other partners of World Glance had walked away from the business some time ago.
I returned from my Friday night dinner and sat down to catch up on some work. Around midnight there was the sound of someone trying keys in the lock, and eventually there was a knock at the door, and Deborah Yamin was standing there. I subsequently found that the bunch of random keys was missing, so I can only conclude that she stole them and was trying them in the lock before realizing they did not fit.
She walked in and began what turned into a surreal and disturbing conversation in which she recounted “her side” of the story, which was absolute fantasy, as well as disclosing that her family had been in touch, and accusing me of being dishonest and trying to steal her business.
It became clear that she had no intention of leaving, and she even claimed that the whole building had belonged to her family for many years, and that my parents were lying to me about our ownership of the flat.
This was the final straw and when I asked her repeatedly to leave (by now around 4.30am), she refused. I tried to reason with her, both by playing along with her fantasy world and confronting it. Nothing worked, and she found excuse after excuse not to leave, for about another hour. Regrettably at that point I had to threaten to call the police, which she perhaps thought was a bluff. After another 10 minutes I did so, and perhaps 15 minutes later two officers arrived. Things remained very calm and I told them what had happened until now and that she has psychological problems, and she incredibly told them the same story, that I was a liar and this was not my flat, etc etc.
Of course they did not believe her and she still refused to leave until they escorted her out. I contacted the French Consulate emergency number and left a message to notify them. In the morning I found out from Martine Arnold, the Vice-Consul, that the police did not take her into protective custody and simply released her. I also understand that the Consulate will remain powerless to assist in any future incidents unless charges are brought or she is hospitalised.
I assumed she had little or no money left, and that she managed to reserve (and then cancel) a room at the Sheraton. Perhaps the police required to see she had a reservation so she put one on a credit card. We also saw that she sent an email to her father, asking him for some air miles to use to fly out of Israel.
By Saturday night 29th December, she was back in touch with us, and other than asking me not to contact her family or friends, and insisting that my flat belonged to her family (!), she continued to act as if the business deal was still viable.
By Monday 31st, she had contacted our fund administrators and some other parties she had come across of ours, and we were systematically writing back to them to explain that Deborah Yamin was mentally unwell and should be ignored. At the same time, we were contacting people she had introduced or copied in on emails, to build more of a picture of the enormous web of connections she had made, all of whom she genuinely believed to be vital cogs in a complex and substantial business transaction, which must have appeared very real in her mind.
Eventually she got suspicious of all these efforts on our part, and accused me of “dodgy dealing”. I put on record to her that she was mistaken and needed to seek psychiatric help. Amazingly, by New Year’s Day, she was back in contact like this correspondence had not happened, requesting that I sign the full documentation with her. By then, I was only willing to meet her in a public place, and we agreed that this would be the Herods Hotel on Hayarkon.
As she had implied she was staying there, I asked at reception for her room (both as Deborah Yamin and Cecile Ortlieb). As I did so, I overheard some people at the counter, complaining that someone by the same name had befriended them in the hotel lobby, and then after they left their table, bought a meal and a drink and put it on their bill. They were asking to press charges and have the hotel refund the money.
I explained that I knew her and that she was coming to the hotel imminently. The hotel head of security showed me a CCTV picture of the suspect, which I confirmed to be Deborah Yamin. They notified the police and I got a message to the Vice Consul about what was happening. They asked me to wait for Deborah Yamin in the lobby so they could try and confront her. When she arrived, they did so, but she managed to talk her way out of it, paying for the items on a credit card and blaming a misunderstanding.
She then asked me if I had anything to do with this incident or the Kabbalah Centre. Not long after this incident, I found out that she had left the country. I immediately issued her a final notice to settle the expenses and draw a line under the whole story. She then made attempts to claim that it was actually my company that owed her money.
She also received notices to cease and desist from other people, including FV at Groupe Edmond de Rothschild on 11th January:
“Again we firmly ask you to stop sending emails to our attention. We had never and will never consider to establish any business relationship with you.
If you don’t stop immediately the use of CBR’s name or the Edmond de Rothschild Group’s name, we will sue you and our lawyers will make all necessary arrangements to file an action in front of the appropriate juridical authorities.”
On 18th January I submitted a claim, against her personally and World Glance, through the English small claims court procedure.
On 21st January the claim was issued and the courts served the notice, got no response, assumed it was not contested, and on 25th February I asked for a judgement. The following day this was approved for all expenses incurred.
On 5th April I requested a warrant to try and recover costs from her personal or company assets, and this was issued on 8th April. A final return for the warrant was received on 24th April (in other words they were unable to enforce it).
The amount owed is now 3,641 GBP (nearly 6,000 USD). My next recourse is to escalate my claim to a High Court Enforcement Officer, which would permit them to investigate credit cards and bank accounts, and look at assets in other countries where reciprocal agreements exist.
In the last few months I have received occasional messages from Deborah Yamin/Cecile Ortlieb and have ignored them, as well as occasionally explaining the situation to other people she has contacted. There was a period where she was holding herself out to represent our companies but I believe this to have stopped.
I am happy to provide a sworn deposition to the effect of all of the above, and to provide any contact with parties who have been involved with Deborah Yamin/Cecile Ortlieb that we are aware of.