This comes from the Winston-Salem Journal, an article stating Paul Burks will be housed in Lexington to serve his prison term.
Paul Burks, the founder of ZeekRewards.com, will serve his federal prison term in Lexington, Ky., beginning no later than May 1.
Burks, 70, was sentenced March 8 to three concurrent prison sentences of 14 years and eight months for his lead role in the Lexington, N.C., Ponzi scheme.There is no parole in the federal system for defendants sentenced in the past few decades. Burks could have been sentenced to up to 59 years.
Here is a link to the full article.
Ah, finally. It looks like they are starting to go after the paid people who pontificate and speciously sanitize these online schemes; couldn’t happen to a more deserving ass-hat. He is described as a “consultant” in the press release; I would have chosen a different descriptor.
U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23787 / March 23, 2017
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Dr. Keith Laggos, No. 3:17-cv-00150 (W.D.N.C. filed Mar. 22, 2017)
SEC Charges former ZeekRewards Promoter and Consultant for Unlawfully Promoting the Scheme
On March 22, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Keith Laggos, formerly the publisher of the Network Business Marketing Journal (NMBJ), for his involvement in and unlawful promotion of the ZeekRewards fraudulent scheme.
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.
The SEC further alleges 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 Commission’s complaint, filed on March 22, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, charges Laggos with violating Sections 17(a) and 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”). To settle the matter, Laggos, who previously consented to a permanent injunction against violating Securities Act Section 17(b) in a 2005 case, consented to the entry of a court order ordering: (i) Laggos to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty totaling $79,190.68; and (ii) permanently enjoining Laggos 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’s investigation was conducted by Brian M. Privor, Alfred C. Tierney, John J. Bowers, and Joshua Braunstein. The case was supervised J. Lee Buck, II.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE RECEIVER – February 2, 2017
As I previously announced, I continue to pursue Final Judgments requiring each member of the Net Winner Class of those who won at least $1000 in ZeekRewards to repay their net winnings to the Receivership for distribution to victims of the scheme. On January 27, 2017, United States District Judge Graham Mullen entered an Order on Process for Determining the Amount of Final Judgments Against Net Winner Class Members, which sets forth the process for determining the amount of the net winnings received by each member of the Net Winner Class. That amount plus prejudgment interest will then become the amount of the Final Judgment to be entered against the net winner. I intend to pursue collection of these judgments vigorously, and expect the ultimate amount collected, while uncertain, will be a substantial sum.
The Court’s Order, which describes the process in detail, may be viewed by following this link. The first step in the process – notifying each Net Winner of the amount of their net winnings – is expected to begin next week. After notification, each Net Winner is required to provide a response stating whether he or she accepts or disagrees with that amount within 60 days of the notification using a website Net Winnings Determination Response Portal. More information and links to the Response Portal will be sent to the Net Winner Class members in the notification email. If a Net Winner does not receive their notification by February 13, 2017 then he or she should email email@example.com to receive instructions on how to obtain the notification.
Throughout the Receivership, the Receiver has expressed a willingness to consider voluntary final settlements with ZeekRewards’ Net Winners to efficiently resolve the claims against them. Hundreds of settlements have been negotiated with Net Winners and approved by the Court. If a Net Winner wants to discuss a settlement of the Receiver’s claims prior to Final Judgment being entered, please communicate with the Receiver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the case entitled “Bell v Disner, et al”, we have the Judge’s Order on a Motion to set up a process for determining Final Judgments against Zeek “Net Winners”. Here are a few highlights, there are 25 sections within the Order:
- The amount of net winnings shall be calculated in the same manner as the Final Judgments entered against the named Net Winners in this action. “Specifically, Net Winnings shall be calculated as total cash paid-out by RVG less outside cash (excluding reinvested funds generated as part of the ZeekRewards Program) used to purchase VIP bids, retail bids, and subscriptions (VIP bids + Retail bids + Subscriptions)”
- On or before January 31, 2017, the Receiver shall notify each Net Winner Class member of the amount of their ZeekRewards Net Winnings as reflected in the available books and records of the RVG Receivership.
- The Receiver shall notify each member of the Net Winner Class of the amount of their Net Winnings by email to the email address provided by the net winner in connection with any account included in determining the amount of Net Winnings as well as any other email address that has been provided by the net winner following the appointment of the Receiver. The Receiver shall also post a link on the Receivership website that allows class members to receive notification of the amount of their Net Winnings. In the event that the notice cannot be delivered to any email address provided by the Net Winner, the Receiver shall send a letter to the last known physical address of the Net Winner informing the Net Winner of the proceedings and the availability of the amount of his or her Net Winnings on the Receivership website.
- Class Counsel for the Net Winner Class shall (i) post a notice on the Net Winner Class website describing the process set forth herein and (ii) communicate to the Net Winner Class the availability from the Receiver of the Net Winnings amount for each class member.
- On or before March 31, 2017 (or at least 60 days following the initial email transmittal of the Net Winning amounts to class members if the Receiver’s email notice occurs after January 31, 2017), each class member shall, if they choose to do so, respond to the calculation of their Net Winnings from the RVG records.
- Final Judgment shall be entered against any Net Winner Class member who does not respond to the Receiver’s calculation of their Net Winnings on or before the response deadline in the amount of their Net Winnings as calculated by the Receiver plus prejudgment interest, calculated at the North Carolina statutory rate of 8% per annum from August 17, 2012, which is on or after the date of the last fraudulent transfer payment to each Defendant, to November 29, 2016, the date of the Summary Judgment Order in this action.
I have uploaded the complete Order here.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE RECEIVER – January 19, 2017
On February 13, 2013, Paul Burks will be sentenced in United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina for his role in the ZeekRewards Ponzi and pyramid scheme. The sentencing hearing is open to the public and will be held at the Federal Courthouse at 401 W. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC.
Victims of these offenses are entitled to be heard at sentencing. If a victim would like to have a letter describing the impact that ZeekRewards had on them submitted to the Court please send an email to HearingLetter@zeekrewardsreceivership.com. In particular, the Court would like to hear about any of the below circumstances:
- Becoming insolvent;
- Filing for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code;
- Suffering substantial loss of a retirement, education, or other savings or investment fund;
- Making substantial changes to his or her employment, such as postponing his or her retirement plans;
- Making substantial changes to his or her living arrangements, such as relocating to a less expensive home; and
- Suffering substantial harm to his or her ability to obtain credit.
I will be attending the hearings on behalf of all ZeekRewards victims and will present your letters to the Court.
Zeek Receiver, Kenneth Bell, has filed a Motion to Enter and Order for determining the amount of Final Judgment against the “Winner Class” members. The Court had entered an Order granting a Summary Judgment and Partial Summary Judgment against the Net Winner Class on November 29, 2016. The Court found that the Net Winner Class received “fraudulent tranfers” that must be repaid to the Receiver.
The only issue now remaining before the Court with respect to the Net Winner Class is how to fairly and efficiently determine the amount of the Final Judgment (ZeekRewards net winnings plus pre-judgment interest) to be paid by each of the over 9000 members of the class.
Attached to the Motion is an Exhibit containing the proposed process
that will give each class member individual notice of the amount of his or her “net winnings” according to RVG’s records, an opportunity to respond to that amount with evidence of a different amount and access to a fair and expedient process to resolve any cases in which the Receiver and Net Winner cannot agree on the amount of the Final Judgment. Counsel for the Receiver has conferred with Counsel for the Net Winner Class, and Counsel for the Net Winner Class has stated that the Net Winner Class has no objection to the Receiver’s proposed process.
Part of the proposal is notification “on or before January 31, 2017” of the amount of “Net Winnings” as indicated in RVG’s records and the records of the Receivership.
The amount of net winnings shall be calculated by the Receiver (through his expert witness) in the same manner as the Final Judgments entered against the named Net Winners in this action.
The process proposed is rather lengthy, so here is a link to it on the ASDUpdates Files website. Also listed is the Proposed Order.
Judge Cogburn has issued the following Order:
THIS MATTER is before the court on the parties’ Joint Motion to Continue Sentencing (#119). Having considered the motion and reviewed the pleadings, the court enters the following Order. The court notes that the parties have requested that the court continue the sentencing hearing to or after January 30, 2017 and have reported that February 9th, 2017 is a known conflict for the counsels’ schedules.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the parties’ Joint Motion to Continue Sentencing (#119) is GRANTED, and the Clerk of Court is instructed to place this matter on the next appropriate sentencing calendar.
The case docket sets a tentative date:
Sentencing set for 2/13/2017 09:30 AM in Courtroom, 401 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202 before District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE RECEIVER – January 12, 2017
I am pleased to announce that we will be making a third partial interim distribution to all Affiliates who hold Allowed Claims on March 15, 2017. When made, combined with the first and second partial interim distributions and the amounts paid by ZeekRewards to such Affiliates before it was shut down, the third partial interim distribution will have returned to victims with Allowed Claims a total of at least 75% of their losses using the rising tide method.
If you previously have received payment from the Receivership, or receive a payment for the first time during the January 31 distribution, you will be issued another payment on March 15, 2017. If you had recovered more than 60% from ZeekRewards prior to its shutdown, but less than 75%, you will receive a distribution as part of the third partial interim distribution.
The funds used to make the third partial interim distribution will be taken from the reserves that I previously held for those Affiliates whose claims were disallowed and forfeited pursuant to the Court’s November 16, 2017 Order that required these claimants to provide their Release and OFAC certification by December 31, 2016. Their failure to do so has permitted me to release these reserves and to pay the third partial interim distribution to Affiliates that hold Allowed Claims.
Finally, we do not have authority to accept new claims and are not considering further requests to amend previously allowed claims. The time to file claims or to amend claims has passed.
I am confident that we will make a further distribution in the future. I ask you for your patience, and thank you for your continuing support.
Based on Kenneth Bell’s Motion for Final Judgments for a group of “Net Winners”, Judge Mullen has issued an Order as follows:
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Receiver’s Motion to Enter Judgment and to Confirm Judgments as Final.
For good cause shown, the Motion is hereby GRANTED and the Final Judgments requested shall be entered as filed.
So far, three (3) Final Judgments have been entered today:
- Final Judgment is hereby entered against Defendants David Kettner, Mary Kettner, Kettner & Associates, LLC and Desert Oasis International Marketing, LLC (The Kettner Defendants) jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,259,114.65 which is comprised of $937,529.27 in net winnings from the ZeekRewards scheme and $321,585.38 in prejudgment interest
- Final Judgment is hereby entered against Defendants T. Lemont Silver, Sr., Karen Silver, and Global Internet Formula, Inc., (The Silver Defendants) jointly and severally, in the amount of $3,141,668.09, which is comprised of $2,339,267.35 in net winnings from the ZeekRewards scheme and $802,400.74 in prejudgment interest
- Final Judgment is hereby entered against Defendant Durant Brockett in the amount of $2,312,129.25, which is comprised of $1,721,597.67 in net winnings from the ZeekRewards scheme and $590,531.58 in prejudgment interest
Judge Mullen has ordered Final Judgments against 3 of the “net winners”, with more likely to follow.
Kenneth Bell has also filed for Final Judgments against:
- Defendant Rhonda Gates in the amount of $1,916,479.07
- Defendants T. Lemont Silver, Sr., Karen Silver, and Global Internet Formula, Inc., jointly and severally, in the amount of $3,141,668.09
- Defendant Durant Brockett in the amount of $2,312,129.25, and
- Defendants David Kettner, Mary Kettner, Kettner & Associates, LLC and Desert Oasis International Marketing, LLC jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,259,114.65
As of today, only these Defendants have had Final Judgments ordered, as follows:
Final Judgment is hereby entered against Defendant Jerry Napier in the amount of $2,349,670.59, which is comprised of $1,749,550.73 in net winnings from the ZeekRewards scheme and $600,119.86 in prejudgment interest, calculated at the North Carolina statutory rate of 8% per annum from August 17, 2012, which is on or after the date of the last fraudulent transfer payment to each Defendant, to November 29, 2016, the date of the Summary Judgment Order in this action.
Final Judgment is hereby entered against Defendant Darren Miller in the amount of $2,198,738.44, which is comprised of $1,637,167.55 in net winnings from the ZeekRewards scheme and $561,570.89 in prejudgment interest, calculated at the North Carolina statutory rate of 8% per annum from August 17, 2012, which is on or after the date of the last fraudulent transfer payment to each Defendant, to November 29, 2016, the date of the Summary Judgment Order in this action.
Final Judgment is hereby entered against Defendants Aaron Andrews, Shara Andrews, and Innovation Marketing, LLC, (The Andrews Defendants) jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,359,897.50 which is comprised of $1,012,571.58 in net winnings from the ZeekRewards scheme and $347,325.92 in prejudgment interest, calculated at the North Carolina statutory rate of 8% per annum from August 17, 2012, which is on or after the date of the last fraudulent transfer payment to each Defendant, to November 29, 2016, the date of the Summary Judgment Order in this action.