Woman Listed As ‘Winner’ In Zeek Rewards Scheme Asks Court For Help In Getting Back ‘Achieve Community’ Money, Raises Questions Over 1099 Form
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated at 6:35 a.m. on Feb. 27.
It happened in the Zeek Rewards pyramid- and Ponzi case in 2012 — and now it has happened in the “Achieve Community” case filed earlier this month.
A woman has contacted the court presiding over the Achieve case to solicit help in getting back her money. The six-page filing by Arla Mendenhall, who identified herself as an Achieve investor, further questions how Achieve treated her for tax purposes.
A similar situation at Zeek, according to court filings, led to a 2014 criminal charge of tax-fraud conspiracy against Zeek operator Paul R. Burks. Prosecutors alleged that Burks failed to file corporate tax returns and accused him of issuing “fraudulent IRS Forms 1099s, causing victim-investors to file inaccurate tax returns for phantom income they never actually received.”
Mendenhall claimed in a communication to the court presiding over the Achieve case that she received a 1099 that asserted she was paid $6,000 by Achieve, even though “I only withdrew $800.00.”
The remaining $5,200 was “reinvested in the business,” she advised the court.
All in all, Mendenhall contended she plowed $8,450 into Achieve.
Records in the Zeek case list her as a “winner” of a Zeek sum in excess of $1,000, meaning she’s a defendant in a class-action clawback case filed by Zeek receiver Kenneth D. Bell in 2014. Senior U.S. District Judge Graham C. Mullen of the Western District of North Carolina granted class certification earlier this month.
Bell previously has raised concerns about “serial” promoters in MLM/network-marketing schemes.
Separately, posters at the RealScam.com antiscam forum have linked Mendenhall to cash-gifting schemes such as The People’s Program and Blessing Gold Club.
In 2013, the PP Blog reported that certain Blessing Gold Club promoters were promoting Better-Living Global Marketing and its Zeek-like Bidders Paradise arm. BLGM purportedly operated offshore, giving rise to questions about whether U.S. members involved in Zeek later had moved to a new venue in an effort to continue to pick fruit from a poisonous tree.
BLGM reportedly now is under criminal investigation in Hong Kong.
On Feb. 12, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn of the District of Colorado froze Achieve Community assets after the SEC contended Achieve was a pyramid- and Ponzi scheme that had gathered more than $3.8 million.
“I had no knowledge of anything illegal when I joined this Business,” Mendenhall said in her filing today.
Much of the information submitted by Mendenhall appears to have originated in her Achieve Community back office.
Alleged Achieve operators Troy Barnes and Kristi Johnson have invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves in the SEC’s civil case. Barnes has claimed he faces a criminal investigation.
NOTE: Our thanks to the ASD Updates Blog.