BULLETIN: First Round Consisting Of 1,200 Subpoenas Will Go Out This Week To Zeek ‘Affiliates Who Profited Most,’ Receiver Says; More Subpoenas Will Follow; Winners Also Will Receive ‘Letter Offering To Negotiate Voluntary Surrender Of Profits’
UPDATED: 7:08 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) The court-appointed receiver in the Zeek Rewards Ponzi scheme case has announced that about 1,200 subpoenas will go out this week to “affiliates who profited most from ZeekRewards.”
It’s “victims’ money, really,” receiver Kenneth D. Bell said in a letter posted on the receivership website.
“The subpoenas ask for financial information, including dealings with Rex Venture,” Bell wrote. “Depositions and litigation will follow if necessary. With each subpoena will be a letter offering to negotiate voluntary surrender of profits (victims’ money, really) instead of going to Court.”
On Aug. 17, the SEC described Zeek as a $600 million Ponzi- and pyramid scheme that potentially affected more than 1 million members.
In the receiver’s letter dated Oct. 30, Bell said a preliminary analysis suggests that Zeek losers outnumber winners by a factor of about eight to one. Zeek was operated by North Carolina-based Rex Venture Group LLC and Paul R. Burks.
“Our preliminary analysis has identified more than 800,000 affiliate User IDs who put more money into Rex Venture than they took out,” Bell wrote. “We estimate that losses will total between $500 million and $600 million. We have already recovered more than $300 million and continue to pursue millions more held in financial institutions. To fill the gap between what we have recovered and what victims lost, we will pursue recovery from those who took out of Rex Venture more than they put in. There are more than 100,000 User IDs in this category representing hundreds of millions of dollars.”
More subpoenas will be issued in the coming weeks, Bell said.
“Additional subpoenas and demands for return of profits will be served on thousands more in the weeks to come,” Bell wrote. “I can’t tell you we will recover enough to make all victims 100% whole, but if we don’t it won’t be for lack of trying.”
A “preliminary, partial” distribution of money to help Zeek victims recover also is being planned, Bell said. No timetable was released, but the receiver noted that he would submit a claims form for the court’s approval. Once Senior U.S. District Judge Graham C. Mullen approves the form, the process of filing claims will begin.
“Once approved the Form will be posted” on the receivership website, the receiver wrote. “When that process has run we will ask the Court for permission to make a preliminary, partial distribution to qualified claimants from recovered funds. A final distribution will have to wait until we have finished collecting all recoverable assets. This will unfortunately take quite a while, and I appreciate your support and patience.”
Bell said he’d received emails from Zeek members inquiring whether they should hire an attorney or “join a group” that has hired an attorney to assist in claims recovery.
“I cannot and do not advise you one way or another about hiring an attorney,” Bell wrote. “I can tell you that my direction from the Court, and my duty to you, is to seize all recoverable assets and distribute them to victims as fully and fairly as possible.
“That, I will do,” he concluded.
UPDATE: 7:08 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.): The receiver has added a “Subpoena FAQ” here. At the time of this update, there are nine entries in the FAQs, including this question and answer (italics added):
1. Why have I received a subpoena for documents?
The ZeekRewards Receiver has been authorized by the Court to recover money and pursue claims for the company. You are receiving this subpoena because you have been identified as an “affiliate,” participant, agent or employee in the ZeekRewards operation who may have received significantly more money from ZeekRewards than you put into the operation. The so-called “profits,” “commissions,” or “winnings” that you received were really just money put in by the victims of the Ponzi and pyramid schemes described in the Securities and Exchange Commission Complaint. The subpoena you received is the legally authorized means for the Receiver to gather information from you in connection with the legal process to recover your “profits,” “commissions,” and “winnings” to compensate victims.