Zeek Rewards Founder Indicted For Operating $850 Million Internet Ponzi Scheme

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.

Angle Of Justice

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.

The Rest Of The Story…Zeek Rewards Founder Indicted For Operating $850 Million Internet Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi Tracker Reports: Zeek Receiver Seeks Approval For 40% Distribution

Nearly two years after his appointment, the court-appointed receiver for the $600 million Zeek Rewards Ponzi scheme has asked a North Carolina federal court for approval to make an initial 40% distribution to over 100,000 victims.  The Receiver, Kenneth D. Bell, filed his Motion to Authorize First Interim Distribution, Establish Record Dates, and Set First Interim Distribution Date (the “Distribution Motion”) yesterday.  In the Distribution Motion, the Receiver seeks to begin making distributions to victims as soon as September 30, 2014.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency enforcement action against Zeek Rewards in August 2012, alleging that the wildly popular online penny-auction site was, in reality, a massive pyramid and Ponzi scheme that was on the verge of collapse.  After a claims process was initiated last year, Bell ultimately received approximately 175,000 claims asserting cumulative losses of over $650 million.

The Rest Of The Story…Ponzi Tracker Reports: Zeek Receiver Seeks Approval For 40% Distribution