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SEC shuts down $600M ‘Zeekler’ ponzi scheme in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Officials said the owner of Zeek Rewards has agreed to settle charges against him by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

NOTICE: The Attorney General's Office has set up a special hotline for Zeek Rewards users and affiliates.  The number is (919) 716-6046. 

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Paul Berks -- owner of Rex Venture Group, which operates the penny auction website and -- has agreed to settle charges against him in lieu of admitting or denying the allegations.

Zeek Rewards has paid out nearly $375 million to investors to date and holds approximately $225 million in investor funds in 15 foreign and domestic financial institutions. Those funds will be frozen under the emergency asset freeze granted by the court at the SEC’s request.

Meanwhile, Burks has personally siphoned several million dollars of investors’ funds while operating Rex Venture and Zeek Rewards, and he distributed at least $1 million to family members, authorities said.

Officials said Burks agreed to relinquish his interest in the company and its assets in addition to paying a $4 million penalty.

Additionally, the court has appointed a receiver to collect, marshal, manage and distribute remaining assets for return to harmed investors.

According to the N.C. Department of Justice, consumers who are part of Zeekler should contact the receiver appointed by the court to handle the company’s assets once the receiver is identified.

Meanwhile, consumers who wish to contact the Attorney General’s Office about Zeekler or Zeek Rewards can send an email to

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