BULLETIN: Zeek Asked To Supply ‘Documents’ To North Carolina Attorney General’s Office; ‘Concerns’ Over Zeek ‘Continue,’ Agency Says
BULLETIN: The Zeek “program” that marries an MLM scheme (Zeek Rewards) to a penny-auction site (Zeekler) is the subject of a state examination by the office of Attorney General Roy Cooper, the agency said this morning.
Cooper’s office did not provide specifics on what the examination would entail, but Zeek has been asked to provide “documents,” said Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper.
“I can tell you that we continue to have concerns about Zeek Rewards and have asked the company to provide us with documents so we can examine its business practices,” Talley said.
Cooper’s office first expressed those concerns publicly in June, after Zeek’s Blog linked to a television station’s report that suggested Zeek had been deemed legal. No such determination had been made, Cooper’s office said at the time.
Meanwhile, Talley said Cooper’s office had set up “a recorded message about Zeek Rewards.”
Such recordings typically are made “when we get a high volume of calls about a particular issue or company,” Talley said.
News about the Zeek examination occurred against the backdrop of a Saturday (Aug. 4) Blog post by Zeek that blasted unspecified “North Carolina Credit Unions” for expressing concerns about the company to Zeek customers. Zeek is a a purported arm of Rex Venture Group LLC. Paul R. Burks is the chief executive officer of Zeek.
Talley declined to comment when asked about whether Cooper’s office was aware of Saturday’s post on the Zeek Blog, which accused the credit unions of slander and implied Zeek would penalize members who questioned the company in public.
But Talley did note that Cooper’s office had received complaints about Zeek and that “[t]he complaints generally seek refunds and say the company has not lived up to its promises.”
Zeek plants the seed that participants can receive a daily return of between 1 percent and 2 percent, but denies it is offering an investment program. The company also denies it is operating a “pyramid scheme.”
“Programs” such as AdSurfDaily have made similar claims and have had a similar payout scheme. ASD was accused in 2008 by the U.S. Secret Service of operating a massive online Ponzi scheme that had gathered $110 million and operated across national borders. ASD President Andy Bowdoin pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May 2012. Zeek is known to have promoters in common with ASD, a company that became engulfed in both civil and criminal litigation.
In 2009, Bowdoin was sued by some of his own members under the federal racketeering statute. That lawsuit was placed on hold because of all the other litigation piling up around ASD, which was named in at least three federal forfeiture actions and was the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation in the District of Columbia that led to the indictment of Bowdoin on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and selling unregistered securities.
Like ASD, Zeek has a presence on forums referenced in federal court filings as places from which Ponzi schemes are promoted. Some Zeek members are promoting JSSTripler/JustBeenPaid, a “program” that claims it provides a return of 60 percent a month and may have ties to the “sovereign citizens” movement.
Consumers can access the state’s recorded message about Zeek by calling 919-716-6046.
Talley provided this transcript of the recording (italics added):
Thank you for calling the North Carolina Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division about Zeek Rewards. We cannot tell you whether or not to invest or participate in Zeek Rewards or any other company.
If you would like to file a complaint with our office, you can either leave a message with your name and address after the beep and we will mail you a complaint form, or you can visit our website at www.ncdoj.gov for an online complaint form.
Specific questions about how Zeek Rewards works should be directed to the company itself. Again, the Attorney General’s Office cannot give you investment or legal advice, and we do not endorse any program or business. However, we always encourage people to do their own research before investing in any business. Many people have asked if we have received complaints about Zeek Rewards, and we can confirm that we have received several complaints. Thank you again for contacting our office.