ZeekRewards – USA Secret Service and SEC investigate Zeek
by Ted Nuyten on August 17, 2012
The situation is escalating around ZeekRewards. Not only is Zeek's Management not available for comments but as the local newspaper The Dispatch reports the USA Secret Service and the SEC are involved:
The U.S. Secret Service has confirmed it is investigating Zeek Rewards as well as the company's chief executive officer, Paul Burks. Special Agent Glen Kessler said the Secret Service, in coordination with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is working a joint case on Zeek Rewards, the company's affiliate program and an entity of Rex Venture Group LLC, which is based in Lexington.
The Secret Service does not comment on ongoing investigations, Kessler said. Secret Service agents were taking statements from Zeek Rewards affiliates Friday afternoon at the company headquarters at 803 W. Center St.
The North Carolina Attorney General's office confirmed Friday morning that it requested records from Rex Venture Group, which also operates the penny auction site Zeekler.com. The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division issued a Civil Investigative Demand on July 6, requesting that Zeek provide specific documents to the state, said Noelle Talley, the Attorney General's public information officer.
Rex Venture Group, known to most as Zeek, unexpectedly closed its headquarters in Lexington on Thursday afternoon, sending hundreds of thousands of its online users spinning in speculation and confusion. Zeek also announced online it was cancelling an upcoming “Red Carpet” event scheduled for Wednesday, in addition to training, recruitment and leadership calls for its users in the “next few days.” Zeekler.com and zeekrewards.com both remained offline Friday.
Dr. Clifton Jolley, Zeek's media representative, confirmed the company was served a CID, but he would not disclose why Zeek shut its doors voluntarily.
Both Zeekler.com and Zeek Rewards have recently come under the scrutiny of the Attorney General's office, after dozens of users filed complaints and inquiries in the past six months. The company, which is rooted in its penny auction website, has expanded in the past year to let users buy in through an “affiliates program.” Some say the company is a good way to make a little more cash while others condemn it as the makings of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.
After Zeek shut its doors Thursday, thousands of people went to Internet forums and comment fields, expressing concern about the company's fate. Dozens of users also visited the business Thursday, only to find locked doors and speculation of why, and how long, it will be closed.
Supporters started an online petition backing Zeek at www.change.org/petitions/north-carolina-attorney-general-roy-a-cooper-keep-zeek-rewards-open-for-business#. At 11:20 a.m., 17,233 people had signed the petition.
Hundreds of Zeek users throughout the world have contacted The Dispatch, expressing concern about the situation and looking for more clarity from the company. Some of the users, who claim they are Zeek Rewards affiliates from countries like Australia, Iraq, Ecuador, Malaysia and Brazil, also say they have invested anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 in the company.