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ZeekRewards Zeek Rewards Receivership Recovery Q&A, all sourced from news reports and experts, who is Robert Craddock?
BREAKING NEWS: ZEEKREWARDSRECEIVERSHIP.COM is now open for the claims process.
Please go to the website and register to file your claim for the money you lost. You will need to scan some documents and such as proof of your loss.
You can read the details at the receivership website.
This is a real Q&A of frequently asked questions regarding the effort surrounding efforts to recover money from the Zeek scam, the largest Ponzi scam to hit the US regarding number of victims.
If you need information about the scam itself, please see [ Analyzing Zeekler and Zeek Rewards ]
All sources of information will be documented clearly. Accept only real information from real experts, not some random "upline" relaying info that cannot be verified!
This is a companion piece to [ Zeek Rewards scam shut down by SEC. What should you do now? ]
NOTE: For simplicity's sake, the "company" known as Zeekler, ZeekRewards, and Rex Venture Group will simply be referred to as "Zeek".
09-NOV-2012 added info on the lawyer asking for $300 to respond to the subpoena
15-MAY-2013 claims process is now open at zeekrewardsreceivership.com!
Q: What was Paul Ray Burks and Zeek charged with?
A: Paul Burks, head of Zeek, and Zeek was charged with multiple violations of "Securities Act" and "Exchange Act" by the Security and Exchange Commission. The charges are as follows:
- Unregistered offer and sale of securities
- Fraud in offer and sale of securities
- Fraud in connection of purchase or sale of securities
(source: SEC complaint, Zeek related Court documents, see end section for link, )
Q: What did Paul Burks do in response?
A: Paul Burks, after consulting with his lawyer (Noell P. Tin of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, PLLC) and legal team, chose not to fight the allegations. Instead, he had entered a no contest plea, gave up control of the company to a court-appointed receiver, give up 4 million of his money, and cooperate with further investigations. A "final judgement" has been entered, and the case is now waiting for the receiver to do his job.
(source: Judgement as to Defendant Paul R. Burks , Zeek related Court documents, see end section for link, )
Q: So Burks did not plea guilty?
A: The plea entered was "no contest", which is normal for "white collar" crimes. See Wikipedia: "nolo contendere". It has the same immediate effect as a guilty plea.
Q: Can Paul Burks / RVG appeal the case?
A: No. The judgment specifically says the defendant had "waived any right to appeal from this final judgment", both for Paul Burks personally, and RVG (represented by Paul Burks as "managing partner").
(source: Judgement as to Defendant Paul R. Burks , Zeek related Court documents, see end section for link, )
Q: What agencies were investigating Zeek?
A: As of now, the only agencies that are CONFIRMED to be investigating Zeek are US Secret Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and now, the Receiver Ken Bell. There are unconfirmed reports that several other agencies at both state and Federal levels are involved. (source: The Dispatch news)
Q: What happens now with Paul Ray Burks, head of Rex Venture Group / Zeek?
A: Burks is at his home in Lexington, with a security guard out front, and is not talking to the media. (source: The Dispatch, WFMY news)
Q: Will additional charges be brought against Burks?
A: Unknown at this time. Based on past history, very likely.
Q: Will charges be brought against other officers in Zeek?
A: Unknown at this time.
Q: Will charges be brought against top affiliates in Zeek?
A: Unknown at this time.
Q: How long has Burks known about the SEC actions? No affiliate knew anything until 17-AUG-2012, when the whole thing got shut down!
A: According to a motion filed by Burks' lawyer, Noell P. Tin, responding to receiver's motion to freeze more of Burks' personal assets for investigation, Burks likely have cooperated "for a period" (of unknown duration) before SEC took action on 17-AUG-2012.
How long "a period" actually lasted is currently unknown. However, producing "hundreds of thousands of documents" doesn't happen overnight.
Add to that the company had cancelled the Red Carpet Event for the week after the shutdown, and cancellation of multiple training calls and leadership calls, in the previous week, would suggest they had at least a week's warning, possibly three.
Furthermore, it was pointed out that Daryl Douglas has not been seen since June 2012, and Dawn Wright-Olivares had not been seen since she was moved to CMO and Caldwell took over. However, there are unconfirmed reports that Dawn and Alex got married and went on a European honeymoon before all this went down.
One more data point... Caldwell is head of "White Head Solutions", which specialize in member compliance, according to their website. If RVG / Zeek had to get an outside consultant, with specialty in member compliance, to take over as acting COO, there is clearly a severe lack of leadership at Zeek in the months leading to the shut down.
Add to this is the fact that NC AG's office actually sent the civil information demand (CID) to Zeek back in JULY, and neither Zeek or AG's office chose to make this public.
Q: What is a receiver?
A: A receiver is like a court-appointed bankruptcy, in case of financial fraud resolution, to liquidate all the assets and pay back as much money as possible to all the victims.
See wikipedia for exact definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receivership
Q: Why has a receiver been appointed for Zeek?
A: Paul Burks, owner, has accepted final judgement in the case brought by the SEC, and agreed to give up the company to the receiver for disposal and refund of all affected.
Q: Who is the receiver?
A: Ken Bell, an attorney for Macguire Woods LLP, was appointed by Federal Judge Graham C. Mullen as the receiver on 17-AUG-2012.
( source: Court order, ZeekRewardsReceivership official website )
Q: How do I get in touch with the receiver?
A: Info is available at www.zeekrewardsreceivership.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Receiver is requesting patience from all victims, as he needs to devote his and his staff's attention to locate all the assets available for the eventual refund. All e-mail to the above email address will be read and cataloged.
( Source: ZeekRewardsReceivership.com statement 27-AUG-2012 )
Q: What do I have to do to get my money back?
A: Please wait until the receiver created a registration form for all the victims to fill out.
Q: When can I get my money back?
A: Unknown at this time.
Q: How much of my money can I get back?
A: Unknown at this time.
Q: But I just paid Zeek! They haven't "cashed" the check yet! I want it back!
A: Please see next section: "Funds in Transit"
Q: What if I actually got more out of Zeek than I put in? (i.e. I profited from Zeek?)
A: Unknown at this time. However, Receiver has stated he will pursue all assets "from any one who ought not to have it" (source; Forbes.com)
UPDATE: If you are among the 1200 top earners, you should be receiving a subpoena from the receiver very soon. See his website for "Subpoena FAQ" (source: receivership website)
Q: What exactly does that mean?
A: My personal interpretation is "expect clawback offers, then clawback lawsuits".
Q: What do you mean by "clawback offers"?
A: Once receiver had compiled a list of all affilates who have gotten MORE out of Zeek than put in, will send out letters to such affiliates asking them to pay back a large percentage of what they had taken out, and in return, they will not be subject to a clawback lawsuit. Usually, this "large percentage" is 90 to 95%, depending on the amount taken out.
UPDATE: 1200 subpoenas and offers have been sent out, as of 30-OCT-2012 (source:receivership website)
Q: What about clawback lawsuits?
A: My personal interpretation, based on study of other restitution programs, indicates that If the affiliates who had been determined to have taken more out of Zeek then put in, and don't accept the clawback offer, the receiver will then sue the affiliates to compel them to cough up all of the money gained. (see below)
Q: But I earned that money!
A: All money earned through a Ponzi scheme are earned fraudulently, and subject to clawback by the receiver for restitution. Whether you knew it's fraud or not is irrelevant. This argument was raised with the Madoff Ponzi victims who had profited. It didn't stop Irving Picard, Madoff's receiver (technically, bankruptcy trustee), from getting BILLIONS of dollars back for restitution. (source: The National article)
Q: Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
A: Not at this time, except maybe not join any efforts to slow down the process (see lawsuits against Zeek and lawsuits against SEC)
Q: What can I do to prepare for registration with the receiver?
A: Document every penny you paid to Zeek, such as checks, money orders, credit card debits, and so on and so forth. You need to document everything, AND how much you got back from Zeek. If they gave you a 1099, get that too. If you have printouts of your backoffice, keep it. Put it all into a folder and wait.
UPDATE: See Receivership Subpoena FAQ on receivership website
Q: Will I really get back money from the receiver?
A: People from the Ad Surf Daily Ponzi did. Of those who filed claims, they got back 100% of their money (not all filed claims)
BEWARE of fearmongers spreading rumors that receiver will never give you any money.
Funds in Transit
Q: I purchased a cashier's check / teller's check / certified check and mailed to Zeek. Can I stop payment on it?
A: No. Cashier's check / teller's check / certified check cannot be "stop payment" as per uniform commercial code. All such checks are property of the receiver estate. (Source; Receiver's FAQ)
UPDATE 29-AUG-2012 Receiver has received instructions from the presiding judge that all such funds in transit are indeed part of receivership estate.
Q: What if the bank already stopped payment on the cashier's check / teller's check / certified check?
A: The bank may have to pay receiver the amount owed, fees, and such for violating UCC and court order. (Source; Receiver's FAQ)
UPDATE 29-AUG-2012 At least one bank (Synovous Bank) apparently allowed stop payment on 19 different cashier's checks for total of about 100,000 dollars before it received the court order and stopped allowing stop payments. It has petitioned the court for clarification.
NOTE: What the bank does when it had to pay the receiver while it already gave you back the money is up to the bank.
Q: What if I sent Zeek a personal check?
A: Personal check can be "stop payment" if you give your bank sufficient notice, and the check had not been cashed/deposited. (Source; Receiver's FAQ)
Q: What if I sent Zeek a money order?
A: This depends on who "signed" the order, you, or the "bank". The former is like a personal check, while the latter is like a cashier's check. (Source; Receiver's FAQ)
NOTE: In my personal experience, most money orders are of the "like cashier's check" type.
Q: But I bought the cashier's check! It's mine! It's not cashed yet so it's not theirs!
A: Uniform Commercial Code 3-309 and 3-312 states that once the cashier's check leaves your possession, i.e. in transit, it belongs to the intended recipient, and thus, part of the receiver estate. You cannot cancel cashier's check until at least 90 days after issue. This is standard operating procedure for receivership. (source: Receiver's FAQ)
Q: What if I have automatic fund transfer setup with my bank to Zeek?
A: That is between you and the bank. Usually if you request stop payment 3 days before the scheduled payment they should have no problem doing it. (Source; Receiver's FAQ)
Q: What if I have payments through eWallet?
A: All eWallet providers (STP, NxPay, and Payza) have complied with Receiver order to freeze all funds related to Zeek, including affiliate accounts. (Source: news reports)
Q: Can I dispute / chargeback eWallet transactions related to Zeek?
A: You may be in violation of court order if you do so. (source: NxPay Zeek announcement)
Assets identified thus far
Q: Just how big is the Zeek Ponzi?
A: About $600 million. However, receiver's news conference on 27-AUG-2012 indicate that the amount will likely be revised upward. (source: SEC complaint, News conference)
Q: How many people were affected?
A: Initial SEC complaint puts the number at near 1 million affected. However, the receiver has since stated that up to TWO MILLION people may be involved. (source: SEC complaint, News conference)
NOTE: EITHER number would make Zeek the widest spread Ponzi in US history.
Q: Is there a list of assets thus far discovered?
A: Receiver has been in contact with all the various banks involved with Zeek and so far the following assets have been identified, as per public sources:
- Charles Schwab: 15 million in name of Rex Venture Group, and 3.6 million in name of Paul Burks
- New Bridge Bank: 11.46 million (see NOTE 1)
- Four Oaks Bank: unknown amount, TBA (see NOTE 2)
- First Premier Bank: over 31 million
- Preferred Merchant Solutions (Check Processor), up to 15 million in unprocessed checks, plus up to another 3 million in unprocessed checks due to processing errors.
It was previously reported that each of the 3 eWallet providers for Zeek probably has 20-30 million each held in reserve for chargebacks. However, exact amount is not available.
NOTE 1: Back in May Zeek had announced they have abandoned New Bridge Bank. It is unclear why would New Bridge Bank still have 11.46 million that belongs to Zeek.
NOTE 2 (UPDATED): Four Oaks Bank indicated it has an account held in the name of "Nx System", which is frozen. Why would NxSystem, with HQ in Oregon, have an account at Four Oaks Bank, which is a small community bank in North Carolina, is unclear. However, NxPay, operated by NxSystem, is one of the 3 eWallet vendors for Zeek.
Above information sourced from PatrickPretty.com news bulletin (see end for links), as per new court filings as of 31-AUG-2012
Lawsuits against Zeek
Q: How many lawsuits have been launched against Zeek?
A: So far, two, both seeking class action status, one in Louisiana, and one in North Carolina. Please see
Q: Should I join such a lawsuit?
A: If you mean can you get more money by going through a lawyer, the answer is likely "no". The receiver's order from the final judgment was very specific: all lawsuits against Zeek will be stayed (i.e. on hold) until the receiver has done his job, i.e. pass out all the money.
Lawsuits against SEC
Q: I heard that someone is going to sue the SEC and get Zeek restarted. Is that true?
A: There is rumor of such, but no lawsuit has yet been filed as of 05-MAY-2013
Q: When did this start?
A: First announcement appeared 5 days after Zeek was closed, approx 22-AUG-2012.
Q: I heard they hired "SNR Denton", a very famous lawfirm!
A: As of 17-SEP-2012, SND Denton was no longer involved.
Q: Who is behind the effort to sue SEC and restart Zeek?
A: The primary organizer appears to be Robert Craddock, who supposedly works for the Zeek Acting COO Greg Caldwell before Zeek was closed. A prime supporter is Todd Disner, a top Zeek affiliate. Their primary spokesman is Dave Kettner, who had been documented as advertising Zeek since July 2011. (source: various announcements from "Zeek Defense", PennyAuctionWatch)
Q: What can you tell me about Robert Craddock?
A: Robert Craddock is an investigator and reputation manager for Greg Caldwell, and had previously taken down several websites operated by critics of FHTM. It is unclear why there's a listing of Robert Craddock on LinkedIn (later removed) that stated Craddock as a Zeek affiliate and FHTM affiliate. Craddock had previously attempted to take down an article critical of ZeekRewards, 3 weeks before the SEC took action and closed Zeek. (source: Troy Dooly, LinkedIn, A MLM Skeptic)
Q: What can you tell me about Todd Disner?
A: Todd Disner is a top Zeek affiliate, and video have surfaced in April 2012 where he was showing off his new mansion (and expensive furnishings) to some Portuguese speaking people touting benefits of ZeekRewards. Todd Disner was one half of the Quiznos sandwich chain founders. Later he turned to MLM and Ponzi schemes. He was for a while pitching Wow! Mobile, and later, Ad Surf Daily Ponzi. Together with a disbarred attorney Dwight Owen Schweitzer, they sued the Federal government for malicious prosecution of Ad Surf Daily Ponzi headed by Andy Bowdoin. Ad Surf Daily Ponzi was closed in 2008 by the SEC. Disner and Schweitzer's lawsuit was dismissed on 29-AUG-2012, and Andy Bowdoin of Ad Surf Daily was sentenced to 78 months in prison on same day. (Source: ASDupdates,com )
Q: What can you tell me about Dave Kettner?
A: Dave Kettner is a serial MLMer, who was documented or to have claimed to be involved in TVI Express pyramid scheme, Diamond Holidays (TVI Express clone), Club Seabreeze (TVI Express clone), and Zeek Rewards. His own ad indicates that he had been advertising Zeek as early as July 2011. His LinkedIn profile also shows he's involved in a Holistic something and sells vitamin chews. (source: LinkedIn, PennyAuctionUpdates)
Q: Is this effort seeking donations?
A: Their website zteambiz.com has a Paypal donation button, ranging from $20 to $100, with a recommended level of $50 per person. Then the Paypal button was removed and replaced with a unencrypted "e-Check" form. This was later removed when multiple MLM news websites such as Troy Dooly's MLMHelpdesk and and Ted Nuyten's BusinessforHome. Nuyten came right out and said this is fraud taking advantage of former Zeek affiliates (source: their website, MLMHelpdesk, BusinessForHome)
Q: Where is the money going to?
A: According to the website, the money is going into "Fun Club USA", a Florida company owned by Robert Craddock. At first, it was PayPal, then when PayPal turned them off (possibly for soliciting donation without being a charity), they changed to UNENCRYPTED e-Check writing, then finally stopped altogether. (source: their website)
Q: And what exactly do I get for the donation?
A: Nothing. It's a DONATION. You give them money of your own free will, expecting NOTHING in return, because you believe in them.
Q: So I don't have a say in what it's spent on?
A: According to their website, any money not spent on the lawfirm will be spent on PR. (Whether you can trust them to do that is a different matter)
Q: Don't I get represented by them if I donate money?
Q: What is Fun Club USA? What is its relation to Zeek?
A: Fun Club USA appears to be a FHTM rep organization according to website of the same name, owned by Robert Craddock. According to Florida Secretary of State's website, the company is "inactive" as of 24-AUG-2012, though a receipt later appeared that shows $70 registration fee paid 25-AUG-2012 SATURDAY afternoon. (Source: FunClub USA website, Florida Secretary of State Corporation Search, Troy Dooly)
Q: What is ZTeambiz?
ZTeamBiz.com was setup, presumably by Craddock, as a website where Zeek affiliates can "buy" customer "leads" to give their bids to, thus qualify for Zeek retail profit pool, as of 15-AUG-2012, until Zeek was shut down. When Zeek was shut down, Craddock turned the website into a fundraiser site for "Zeek Defense" (source: Google cache, ZteamBiz)
Please note that some of the email sent by Dave Kettner contradicts the statement on their own website, which appears below. Kettner claimed that if you contribute you are a part of the lawsuit. Read the section below, then confirm it on their website, and decide who is lying.
NOTE: Following was just posted the ZteamBiz website:
SNR Denton US LLP represents Fun Club USA and all inquiries about this representation should be directed to Fun Club USA at <redacted>@gmail.com. SNR Denton’s legal representation is limited to Fun Club USA; SNR Denton does not represent and does not have an attorney-client relationship with affiliates of Zeek, Zeek Rewards, Rex Venture Group LLC or with any individual or party that chooses to provide funds to Fun Club USA.
Conference call recorded on August 25, 2012 has been removed due to an unauthorized access, and publishing a different recorded call. Our apologies, we will for now on only publish conference calls we record to prevent this from happening in the future.
Editor's Commentary: they appear to be rather secretive about "unauthorized access" of their conference call, which was advertised all over the place.
Q: Didn't you say SNR Denton was no longer involved?
A: Correct. It was revealed in 19-SEP-2012 that Rodney Alexander of Charlotte NC has been retained by "Fun Club USA", and he's inviting an attorney from Dallas TX called Michael J. Quilling to appear as co-counsel.
Q: Can they actually sue the SEC?
A: Anybody can sue anybody in the US. You just need to hire a lawyer. However, the lawyers above merely filed paperwork to appear to represent interest of their clients, not to sue the SEC.
Q: *Are* they actuallying suing the SEC?
A: As of 15-MAY-2013, the answer is no. No motion had been filed. One has filed "intent to appear", but no actual motion nor any sort of lawsuit had been filed. The only motion so far filed was they want to be appointed "examiner" to work alongside the receiver and get paid by the receiver. That motion had been REJECTED by the court.
Q: What I mean is, do they have a chance of winning?
A: To restart Zeek? My personal opinion? No chance at all. ZERO. Why?
1) Because they have "no standing". Paul Burks, as the managing partner of RVG/Zeek, has already agreed to final judgement and waived any further rights to appeal. Unless they can prove that Burks had no right to give up the company, the lawsuit will be thrown out.
2) Even if they can get the case into a court, then they have to prove that SEC's numbers are completely wrong, that there is another couple hundred million lying around that Burks choose not to tell the SEC, or have a couple hundred million a month in revenue that Burks somehow lost track that would prove there's a LOT of income that did NOT come from affiliates. This would be absurd, because if this evidence actually exists, Burks would have known about it and would have used it at the civil hearing, and logically would choose to fight it out in court. instead, Burks simply plea "no contest" and gave up. Logically, there is no such exculpatory evidence.
3) Even if they somehow, managed to do that, that still doesn't clear RVG / Burks of the remaining charges such as violations of the Securities Act and Exchange Act, as well as the fraud charges stemming from that.
Thus, there is no chance Zeek can be restarted, IMHO, of course.
Q: Why then would any one do something that's hopeless?
A: You'll have to ask them. They don't think it's hopeless.
My personal opinion: such a lawsuit has one primary effect: it will stop the receiver from doing his job, such as clawback lawsuits. Basically, people who may be affected by clawbacks would definitely support the lawsuit as even if they lose, at least they delayed the receiver and perhaps, give them more time to spend their money and tell the receiver: ain't got the whole amount, here's half, take it. Even better if they can get the other affiliates to pay.
Q: Wait, so what exactly are they appearing for, if it's not to sue the SEC?
A: This is from their "notice to appear"
Please take notice that the undersigned, Rodney E Alexander, is appearing in this matter as local counsel for Fun Club USA, Inc and other entities whose assets were seized in connection with the above-referenced matter.
This already contains one FUNDAMENTAL error... Thus far, there are NO assets seized. All assets handled by the receiver Ken Bell were turned over VOLUNTARILY by Paul Burks, and belonged to Rex Venture Group, of which Burks is the sole managing partner / owner.
Thus, in my amateur opinion, this "assets were seized in connection with the [Zeek Ponzi]" can only refer to something that has YET TO HAPPEN, i.e. clawback lawsuits.
Tax Potential Problems
Q: Can I report my Ponzi scheme losses on my tax return as a deduction for 2012 tax year?
Q: What do I do with my 2011 deductions and income tax that was already filed, that involves Zeek income (or loss)?
A: Please consult a competent tax professional who knows how to file such returns. You may want to read this following article about how to declare loss and distribution (when it's made).
EDIT: IRS redesigned the website so I had to find a new URL.
Receiver Subpoena and Responses
Q: I heard Receiver had sent out subpoenas to all the top earners. Is it true?
A: Yes, Zeek Rewards receiver Ken Bell had sent subpoenas for information to 1200 top earners. You can consult his FAQ on the receivership website.
Q: If I got the subpoena, should I respond to it?
A: If you don't, you can be charged with contempt of court (Federal).
Q: I previously donated to Fun Club USA. Wasn't "Fun Club USA" supposed to be representing us?
A: Fun Club USA is advertising services of a lawyer Rodney Alexander of Alexander-Ricks PLLC (North Carolina). For $300, he will file an objection for you.
Q: Wait, so they want me to pay $300 for my own lawyer?
A: Correct. And it's ONLY for filing this objection. If the receiver decides your objection is not reasonable and asks you specifically for more info, the lawyer will charge you more money, at $200-375 per hour. See below for an excerpt from the retainer agreement:
Q: Has someone hired this lawyer and filed this "objection"?
A: Robert Craddock (see "Zeek Defense" section above) has filed an objection through Rodney Alexander where it was claimed that virtually everything the receiver asked for is unreasonable in one way or another (and the receiver will get NO cooperation).
Commentary: First Craddock suggests that receiver will eat up the Zeek money pushing paperwork, now he wants to cause receiver to do more paperwork, such as sending physical subpoenas...
All court Documents related to SEC vs. Zeek can be found here:
PatrickPretty.com update on Zeek asset discovery can be found here:
ZeekRewards Receivership FAQ can be found here:
Ponzi expert Jordan Maglich explains clawbacks
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