$312 million recovered so far in NC Ponzi scheme that attracted more than 1 million investors

(AP) -- Hundreds of millions of dollars has been recovered so far in a massive Ponzi scheme that attracted more than 1 million investors from the United States and all over the world, according a court filing in the case.

The case involves Rex Venture Group, a Lexington, N.C.-based company that operated several online ventures, including Zeekster.com, a penny auction site, and ZeekRewards, a business designed to drive traffic to the penny auction.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in August froze the company's assets, and a federal judge appointed a receiver — Charlotte attorney Kenneth Bell — to recoup money for the victims.

The SEC has said the company operated by Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C., was running a $600 million Ponzi scam — where money from new investors is used to pay out old ones. His company, ZeekRewards, was illegally selling securities.

The 66-year-old Burks has agreed to pay a $4 million penalty and cooperate with the SEC in trying to recover money. Though the SEC said Burks siphoned millions for his personal use, he has not been charged.


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