One BVI winner is alleged to have gained more than $2 million from Zeek’s combined Ponzi- and pyramid scheme. Bell identified her as Agnita Solomon of Road Town, Tortola.
Susan Forbes, of Tortola, the largest island, is alleged by Bell to have won more than $603,000. No specific town is listed for her.
Hamish Brownie appears to be Zeek’s largest alleged winner in New Zealand. Bell listed a sum of more than $507,000 for Brownie, who resides in Christchurch.
Road Town, the capital of the BVI, possibly was a Zeek stronghold. Of the five BVI residents sued, three listed Road Town addresses, according to Bell’s lawsuit. Besides Solomon, the other two were identified by Bell as Marcus Drigo and Patrice Harewood.
Drigo allegedly won more than $70,000; Harewood allegedly received nearly $60,000.
Marguerite D. Hodge, another BVI resident, was alleged to have won more than $115,000. No specific city or island was listed for her.
The other alleged New Zealand winners sued by Bell were identified as Praveen Kumar of Auckland and David Ian MacGregor Fraser, also of Auckland. Kumar is alleged to have won more than $115,000; MacGregor Fraser received more than $89,000, Bell alleged.
The lawsuits against the BVI and New Zealand defendants are filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The actions mark at least the third time Bell has sued international alleged winners.
Bell previously sued winners with addresses in Canada and Australia. He has sued about 9,400 individuals or entities with U.S. addresses, most of them via a class action.
The actions against U.S. domestic alleged winners and their international Zeek colleagues likely represent the largest undertaking by a receiver in an HYIP case in U.S. history.
Cross-border MLM HYIP schemes operating over the Internet have emerged as a considerable problem. Zeek may have involved on the order of 800,000 participants, the vast majority of them alleged losers of a combined sum in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Court filings in the TelexFree bankruptcy case alleged that $1.8 billion was driven to that cross-border scheme, which potentially involved more than 1 million participants globally.
The SEC shut down Zeek in August 2012, with three key figures later charged criminally. TelexFree declared bankruptcy on a Sunday night in April 2014, just as regulators were preparing to file actions.
Two TelexFree figures later were charged criminally. There also are TelexFree-related civil and criminal investigations in Brazil, perhaps TelexFree’s main stronghold. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are involved in the TelexFree probe.
In the actions against the BVI and New Zealand alleged Zeek winners, Bell said this: “Because Zeek’s net winners ‘won’ (the victims’) money in an unlawful combined Ponzi and pyramid scheme, the net winners are not permitted to keep their winnings and must return the fraudulently transferred winnings back to the Receiver for distribution to Zeek’s victims.”
NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.