DEVELOPING STORY: Zeek Figure Robert Craddock Accused Of Trademark Infringement And Engaging In ‘Shake-Down’ Bid Against MLM Affiliates

EDITOR’S NOTE: The story below focuses mostly on a lawsuit filed against Zeek Rewards figure Robert Craddock by a Nevada company known as BTG180. A lawsuit filed against Craddock by a Wyoming company known as OfferHubb.net Inc. makes similar claims against Craddock.

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breakingnews72DEVELOPING STORY: (4th Update 10:12 a.m. EDT Oct. 14 U.S.A.) Zeek Rewards figure Robert Craddock has been accused in a private lawsuit filed in Nevada federal court of trademark infringement and using a “shell corporation” to engage in a “shake-down” bid against affiliates of at least three MLM networks: Zeek, OfferHubb and BTG180.

The alleged shell corporation is known as Fun Club USA Inc., according to a complaint filed Feb. 5, 2014.  It has “no employees,” was  “never capitalized” and created a condition under which Craddock was able to use funds directed to the corporation by MLMers as his personal funds, the plaintiffs contend.

The plaintiffs in the case are listed as BTG180 LLC and Randall Jeffers. A second complaint against Craddock was filed on the same day, also in Nevada. Plaintiffs in that case are OfferHubb.net Inc. and David Flynn, who allege that Craddock “immediately” embarked on a web-based disparagement campaign against them after OfferHubb chose in July 2013 not to renew a contract with Craddock and FunClub USA.

OfferHubb.net Inc. further accused Craddock of misrepresenting the company, breaching the OfferHubb Terms of Service by inducing affiliates to make side deals and accept kickbacks from affiliates and cross-selling other MLM opportunities in contravention of his agreement with OfferHubb.

BTG180 is associated with a “program” known as BidsThatGive, which positioned itself as an opportunity to fight child poverty and the exploitation trades. An apparent prelaunch for BidsThatGive was conducted in July 2012, the month before the SEC moved against Zeek.

Fun Club and Craddock are referenced in a blistering memo filed in the Zeek Ponzi- and pyramid-scheme case by the SEC on Dec. 17, 2012. In the memo, the SEC accused Craddock of encouraging Zeek affiliates “not to cooperate” with Kenneth D. Bell, the court appointed receiver. The SEC further alleged that Craddock was spreading misinformation about how the agency viewed its own case against Zeek and that Fun Club appeared to have been formed 11 days after the SEC emergency action against Zeek on Aug. 17, 2012.

Craddock has not been charged by the SEC with wrongdoing.

Despite the SEC’s December 2012 assertions against Craddock and Fun Club, however, BTG180 appears to have entered into a contract with Craddock and Fun Club on Aug. 12, 2013, just five days shy of the one-year anniversary of the SEC’s complaint against Zeek. In the August 2012 action, the agency accused Zeek of engaging in securities fraud, selling unregistered securities and operating a combined Ponzi and pyramid scheme that had gathered hundreds of millions of dollars in just shy of 20 months.

BTG180, according to its own lawsuit against Craddock and Fun Club filed in February 2014, paid Craddock and the shell company $50,000 in advance of work Craddock had agreed to perform for BTG180.

BTG180 says it wants back the $50,000 because Craddock failed to deliver. It also contends other actions by Craddock caused it to suffer damages.

Part of Craddock’s duties, according to the complaint, was to “market the BTG180 network marketing opportunity to former affiliates of the Zeek Rewards network, which had provided products similar to those provided by BTG180.”

Craddock did not perform the agreed-to work, according to the lawsuit. Instead, he attempted to “induce BTG180 to promote and incorporate into its product line a so-called checking account draft processing system known as BTM. Craddock is the founder of a corporation  known as BTM Check Draft Inc.”

Without authorization from BTG180’s Jeffers, according to the complaint, Craddock pitched his BTM check system to the members of BTG180, amid false claims that it “had been approved by BTG180” and was in the company’s product stable.

Other “confrontations” between Craddock and “BTG180 executives” ensued, and Craddock tried to “induce” BTG180 to “market other products for him,” according to the complaint.

When Craddock “continued to defy Plaintiffs requests to stop these actions,” according to the complaint, “BTG stopped paying Craddock and Fun Club.”

Under the terms of the contract, according to an exhibit in the case, Craddock and Fun Club were to receive $20,000 a month through BTG180, plus approved expenses, from Sept. 1, 2013 through Sept. 1, 2014.

Craddock also was required not to reveal BTG180’s trade secrets and proprietary information, according to the exhibit.

But at some point during contractually required Craddock visits to BTG180’s operations in Nevada, according to the complaint, BTG180 came to believe that “Craddock used a computer or several computers at BTG180’s offices to access and download and/or retain contact information of BTG180’s affiliates.”

Craddock, according to the complaint, then sought to harm BTG180 by “disrupting and ruining its relationships with its affiliates.”

As part of his plan to ruin BTG180, according to the complaint, Craddock established a website styled BTGlegal.com and engaged in trademark infringement while doing so. As a further part of this scheme, according to the complaint, Craddock used the website to paint Jeffers as dishonest and unethical, saying Jeffers and “other principals” of BTG180 had criminal records and a history of defrauding people.

At the same time, according to the complaint, Craddock claimed that BTG180 had been “classified” a Ponzi scheme, that the company was to be “investigated,” that “reports” about BTG180 had been filed with the North Carolina Attorney General, that a Zeek-like action against BTG180 was planned by investigators and that “BTG180 affiliates could face criminal or other legal charges for signing up new affiliates.”

Craddock, according to the complaint, issued an “edict” that “all BTG180 affiliates were under a cease and desist order to stop doing business with BTG180.”

By December 2013, according to the complaint, Craddock was soliciting monthly donations of $25 each from BTG180 affiliates, saying the money would help them get back sums they had paid to BTG180. At the same time, according to the complaint, Craddock was encouraging members to contact a reporter at ABC News by email and to use a subject line that read, “They Took My Money and Used Kids to Lure me In.”

In 2012, according to the BTG180 complaint, Craddock had solicted donations from Zeek members amid assertions he was protecting their legal interests. He eventually did the same thing to BTG180 and OfferHub participants, a “shake-down” bid targeted at MLMers, according to the complaint filed by BTG180.

Craddock is accused in the complaint of cybersquatting, trademark infringement, wrongful use of a computer, misappropriation of trade secrets, wrongful interference with economic relations, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, defamation and hiding behind a shell company.

The trademark-infringement claim may be particularly concerning to the MLM trade, given that Craddock has asserted he works as a copyright and trademark agent on behalf of MLM “programs.”

On July 22, 2012, while purportedly working as a “consultant” for Zeek, Craddock filed a copyright- and trademark-infringement complaint against a HubPages website operated by Zeek critic K. Chang. K. Chang, who also posts on publications such as the PP Blog and BehindMLM.com, ultimately prevailed in the action brought by Craddock.

Less than a month later, the SEC brought the Ponzi- and pyramid action against Zeek.

Earlier this year, a website known as Changes Worldwide identified Craddock as its copyright agent. Filings by the SEC in June 2014 alleged that Faith Sloan, accused in April 2014 of securities fraud by the agency in its Ponzi- and pyramid complaint against the TelexFree “program,” sent more than $15,000 to an entity known as Changes Worldwide LLC after an asset freeze was opposed against Sloan in the TelexFree case.

Sloan also was a Zeek affiliate. Whether proceeds that originated in Zeek and/or TelexFree made their way into Changes Worldwide is unclear.

BehindMLM.com, recently the subject of a DMCA takedown notice by Sloan but now back online, reported yesterday that Changes Worldwide and a companion entity known as Changes Trading are having payment problems. As the PP Blog reported on Oct. 2, the email address Sloan used to file the complaint against BehindMLM.com was associated with a 2×2 matrix “program” known as “Diamond Holiday Feeder” that was making the HYIP rounds in 2010.

Despite the fact Sloan accused BehindMLM.com of using on its website copyrighted material she owned, one of her 2010 promos for Diamond Holiday feeder used nearly three minutes of a soundtrack recorded in 2009 by The Black Eyed Peas to celebrate the 24th season of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

MPB Today, a collapsed matrix cycler that led to racketeering charges in Florida against the “program” operator, is an example of a 2×2. Another example is Regenesis 2×2, which led to a U.S. Secret Service probe in Washington state in 2009. Some Zeekers are known to have promoted Regenesis 2×2.

News broke last week that Craddock is listed on Amazon.com as the author of a book on Zeek Rewards. Marketing copy for the book asserts that the U.S. government should have modeled a “stimulus program” after Zeek, rather than shutting it down.

In the current infringement actions against Craddock, the dockets of the case suggest Craddock no longer has paid counsel and is seeking to litigate pro se against the plaintiffs, contending that the cases should have been handled through binding arbitration, not actions in federal court.

Craddock’s wife is a co-defendant, amid claims she and her husband used Fun Club USA to dupe MLMers who provided money to protect their legal interests.

NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.

 

 

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