Last year I started studying the supplement industry after reading an article in the USA Today about Matt Cahill and how he and his company Driven Sports had gotten away with formulating and selling products while he had such a questionable background. You can read the full perspective here.
I have continued to research and investigate the federal regulations surrounding the supplement industry, and how loopholes have allowed so many dangerous products to enter the world and harm people. But this last week I read an article that truly caught my attention due to the fact one of the ingredients mentioned (AMP Citrate), which I knew was being HYPED as the newest answer to weight loss. But… As I studied the ingredient, and which companies were using it, I quickly realized that a new direct selling company was pushing it through one of their flagship products and that concerned me.
This article is not to slam the company or even mention it’s name. This article is to shed some light on the questionable ingredient and to allow folks the ability to determine if the health and ethical risk is worth marketing or taking any product with the AMP Citrate.
United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District of North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The president of ZeekRewards, Paul Burks, has been indicted on federal charges for operating an Internet Ponzi scheme that took in more than $850 million dollars, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The criminal indictment was returned today by a federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte, charging Burks, 67, of Lexington, N.C., with wire and mail fraud conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, and tax fraud conspiracy.
Russell F. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Division and Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, from January 2010 through August 2012, Paul Burks was the owner of Rex Venture Group, LLC (RVG), through which he owned and operated Zeekler, a sham Internet-based penny auction company, and its purported advertising division, ZeekRewards (collectively “Zeek”). The indictment alleges that Burks and his conspirators induced victims – including over 1,500 victims in the Charlotte area – to invest in their fraudulent scheme, by falsely representing that Zeekler was generating massive retail profits from its penny auctions, and that the public could share in such profits through investment in ZeekRewards. Indeed, the indictment alleges that Burks and others claimed, at one point, that investors would be guaranteed a 125% return on their investment.
The indictment alleges that Burks and his conspirators represented that victim-investors in ZeekRewards could participate in the Retail Profit Pool (RPP), which supposedly allowed victims collectively to share 50% of Zeek’s daily net profits. The indictment alleges that Burks and his conspirators did not keep books and records needed to calculate such daily figures, and that Burks simply made up the daily “profit” numbers. The indictment further alleges that, contrary to the conspirators’ claims, the true revenue from the scheme did not come from the penny auction’s “massive profits.” Instead, approximately 98% of all incoming funds came from victim-investors, which were then used to make Ponzi-style payments to earlier victim investors.