Lexington, N.C. - A popular auction website based in Lexington shutdown its website and closed the company's doors. The Secret Service and US Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the company according to Special Agent Glen Kessler.
According to a news release posted late Friday on the SEC website, "The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze to halt a $600 million Ponzi scheme on the verge of collapse. The emergency action assures that victims can recoup more of their money and potentially avoid devastating losses. The SEC alleges that online marketer Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C. and his company Rex Venture Group have raised money from more than one million Internet customers nationwide and overseas through the website ZeekRewards.com, which they began in January 2011."
The North Carolina Attorney General's office has received and reviewed complaints about Zeekler and Zeek Rewards in the past.
News 2 tried to find the man who runs the company, Paul Burks, on Friday and also talked to people who have invested money in Zeek Rewards. Burks did not return our phone calls or respond to our messages.
However, the public relations company representing Burks released the following statement to WFMY News 2, "Mr. Burks has agreed to settle the SEC's charges against him without admitting or denying the allegations, and agreed to cooperate with a court-appointed receiver."
If you visit the website, you will see a message that says, "Zeek Rewards is currently unavailable. More information will be available shortly on this website."
If you stop by the office in Lexington, you will see a locked door and sign that says, "Closed."
What happened? The company's owner has not returned our phone calls or text messages. There are a lot of customers wondering if they are going to lose the money they've invested.
"It's happened before. Not the same setup. But, it's been shut down before and within a little while it's back up. Everything's back up. They pretty much take care of us," Ron Golder, an investor, said.
Neal Hedrick, another investor, said, "It's a gamble. Life's a gamble. But, it's a company. You expect to make money and if you don't then, it's a loss. You take your losses and move on."
The Attorney General's office said it did not order the company to close its doors. A public relations company that represents Zeekler said this is a voluntary closure and more information should be available soon.
The Attorney General's office has setup a hotline for people with concerns about this company. The phone number is 919-716-6046.