Zeek Rewards Claims Portal Is Open

breakingnews72The claims portal for Zeek Rewards has opened on schedule. It is accessible through a “File a Claim” button on the website of the court-appointed receiver and also has a separate URL. Claims must be filed by 11:59 p.m. (prevailing Eastern time) on Sept. 5, 2013.

A claims FAQ is accessible here.

Senior U.S. District Judge Graham C. Mullen of the Western District of North Carolina approved the Zeek claims process on May 8.

In a letter to Zeek participants last week, receiver Kenneth D. Bell said there potentially is more than 1 million claimants.

In August 2012, the SEC described Zeek as a $600 million Ponzi- and pyramid fraud operated by Paul R. Burks and Rex Venture Group LLC of Lexington, N.C. Zeek, the SEC said, was selling unregistered securities and duping investors into believing they were receiving a legitimate return of about 1.5 percent a day.

Since that time, the SEC has filed an action against a murky HYIP known as Profitable Sunrise that promoted returns that exceeded even Zeek’s purported numbers and appears to have been using a series of offshore bank accounts. The Profitable Sunrise action was filed in April 2013, amid allegations pitchmen may not have known for whom they were working in a bid to glean commissions.

Reload scams surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the SEC’s Zeek action. The same thing is happening in the aftermath of the Profitable Sunrise action. Various “opportunities” are being pitched as cure-alls for losses in the “programs.” Some of the reload scams appear to be bids to intercept information from Zeek and Profitable Sunrise victims.

At least 36 U.S. states or provinces in Canada have issued cease-and-desist orders or Investor Alerts against Profitable Sunrise. Notices also have been published by the governments of the United Kingdom, Italy and New Zealand. The state of North Carolina has published at least two warnings about reload scams. Some of the actions by state regulators in the United States have identified alleged Profitable Sunrise pitchmen.

Despite the warnings, pitchmen for other HYIP schemes have been spamming websites with offers for other “programs” that promise absurd rates of return.

Bogus “refund” sites have surfaced after the fall of other major Ponzi schemes. Scammers also have been known to discourage participants in “programs” from filing claims, apparently as part of bids to minimize the victims’ count. Some participants in the AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme, for example, planted the extortive seed that they might sue anybody who filed a claim.

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