Keith Laggos, an AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme figure and the onetime publisher of Network Marketing Business Journal, has been charged by the SEC with securities fraud for illegally touting the Zeek Rewards scheme and using NMBJ to sanitize the egregious fraud that gathered hundreds of millions of dollars.
Among the agency’s allegations is that “Laggos’s favorable editorials of the scheme contained material misstatements and omissions. Laggos published theses misstatements despite being made aware of their inaccuracy and otherwise being in a position as a paid consultant for ZeekRewards to know of their falsity.”
The former .com site for NMBJ now is showing a “For Sale” sign.
Plaques commemorating NMBJ’s Zeek puff pieces on Zeek were listed as auction items by the court-appointed receiver for Zeek in December 2013.
From an SEC statement on March 23, 2017 (italics added):
The SEC alleges that, from at least June 2011 through July 2012, Laggos, through NMBJ and while acting a paid consultant for ZeekRewards, was paid at least $64,000 for publishing several editorials providing crucial publicity to the ZeekRewards scheme. These publications promoted ZeekRewards as the “company of the month” and touted, among other things, the scheme’s supposed record earnings and opportunity to generate income for participants. Laggos failed to disclose the fact that he was paid for the favorable editorial coverage, the amount that he was paid, and that he was a paid consultant for ZeekRewards.
Laggos, a prior defendant in an SEC touting case, agreed to pay $79,190.68 to settle the Zeek matter, the SEC said. In addition, he agreed to a permanent injunction from future violations of Sections 17(a) and 17(b) of the Securities Act, from participating in future securities offerings and from providing paid publicity to securities.
The SEC moved against Zeek on Aug. 17, 2012. (See Aug. 12, 2012, PP Blog editorial that references Laggos: “Karl Wallenda Wouldn’t Do Zeek.”)
See BehindMLM’s March 25, 2017, story on the charges against Laggos.
See the SEC’s litigation statement.
Whether other outlets that publish fake news to sanitize fraudulent MLM schemes would learn from the case against Laggos was not immediately clear.