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United States v. Paul Burks - Case No: 3:14-cr-208
On October 24, 2014, the United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina announced that federal charges had been filed against Paul Burks in connection with the $850 million ZeekRewards Ponzi scheme. According to the criminal indictment, Burks and his conspirators used the promise of a fictional share of the “daily net profit” from penny auction website Zeekler.com to obtain payments from victim-investors, including over 1,500 victims in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Paul Burks is charged with wire and mail fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and tax fraud conspiracy. He is expected to have his initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte in the coming days.
Filed documents in US v. BurksCriminal Bill of Indictment against Paul Burks
United States v. Dawn Wright Olivares and Dan Olivares - Case No: 3:13-cr-335
February 5, 2014 – Initial Appearance and Bond Hearing
Dawn Wright Olivares and Daniel Olivares appeared before US Magistrate Court David S. Cayer for their initial appearance on the charges filed by Bill of Information on December 20, 2013. Both defendants were released on bond which includes supervision by a U. S. Probation Officer while on release.
February 5, 2014 – Arraignment Hearing
Daniel Olivares appeared before US Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer. The Defendant was sworn and advised of rights and charges. The defendant entered a plea of guilty to Count 1, investment fraud conspiracy, as charged in the Bill of Information.
Dawn Wright Olivares appeared before US Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer. The Defendant was sworn and advised of rights and charges.The defendant entered a plea of guilty to Count 1, investment fraud conspiracy, and Count 2, tax fraud conspiracy, as charged in the Bill of Information.
On December 20, 2013, the United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina announced that Dawn Wright Olivares, the Chief Operating Officer, and Daniel C. Olivares, the Senior Technology Officer, of ZeekRewards, have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in the $850 million ZeekRewards Ponzi scheme. According to a Bill of Information filed against Dawn Wright Olivares and Daniel Olivares on December 20, 2013, Dawn Olivares, Daniel Olivares and their co-conspirators used the promise of a fictional share of the “daily net profit” from penny auction website Zeekler.com to obtain payments from victim-investors, including over 1,500 victims in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Dawn Wright Olivares is charged with one count of investment fraud conspiracy in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 and with one count of tax fraud conspiracy in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Daniel Olivares is charged with one count of investment fraud conspiracy in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
Filed documents in US v. Olivares:Bill of Information for Dawn Wright Olivares and Dan Olivares
Dawn Wright Olivares Plea Agreement
Dan Olivares Plea Agreement
Unopposed Motion to Appoint Special Master
Order on Victim Notification Procedures
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act gives victims* of criminal offenses in Federal court certain rights, including: (1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused; (2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, involving the crime, or of any release or escape of the accused; (3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding; (4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, or sentencing, (5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case; (6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law; (7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and (8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.
*Under the statute, “the term ‘crime victim’ means a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia. In the case of a crime victim who is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the legal guardians of the crime victim or the representatives of the crime victim’s estate, family members, or any other persons appointed as suitable by the court, may assume the crime victim’s rights under this chapter, but in no event shall the defendant be named as such guardian or representative.
If it is determined that you are a victim, we will make our best efforts to ensure that you are provided the rights described above. While we cannot act as your attorney or provide you with legal advice, you may seek the advice of an attorney with respect to these rights or other related legal matters.
Information for Victims
On June 5, 2014, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. entered a court order authorizing the Government to comply with potential victim notification in this case by:
1. Publishing information about this case, the rights afforded to the victims under 18 U.S.C. Section 3771(a) and notice of public court proceedings to be updated within a reasonable period of any new proceedings being scheduled on the Department of Justice Website, located at http://www.justice.gov/usao/ncw/victimwitness/zeekreward.html; and 2. Giving written notice to the court-appointed receiver in the SEC action, who has agreed to include on the receivership's website,www.zeekrewardsreceivership.com, the same informaion that the Department of Justice posts on its website regarding the matter.
On December 20, 2013, the government filed an unopposed motion to appoint Kenneth D. Bell of McGuire Woods LLP as Special Master on behalf of the Department of Justice to administer the process of compensating the victims of the ZeekRewards fraud with the forfeited and seized funds and to resolve victim and restitution issues. The U.S. District Court has not ruled on the motion yet. In August 2012, Bell was appointed as temporary receiver (“Receiver”) for Rex Venture Group, LLC d/b/a ZeekRewards.com. The government has requested Mr. Bell be appointed as Special Master in part because he is already tasked with the powers of a Receiver pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3664(e)(6) such as notifying victims of the fraud, properly identifying and resolving the claims of the fraud victims and accounting for and disposing of the assets owned and controlled by the Receivership entities.
ZeekRewards Claims Process - Civil Suit
On August 17, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") filed a Complaint in United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division, against Rex Venture Group, LLC ("Rex Venture") d/b/a ZeekRewards.com ("ZeekRewards"), and Paul R. Burks. The SEC alleges that Rex Venture and Burks fraudulently offered and sold securities in an unregistered offering as part of a combined Ponzi and pyramid scheme.
On August 17, 2012, Judge Graham C. Mullen issued an Order appointing Kenneth D. Bell of McGuireWoods LLP as temporary receiver (“Receiver”) for Rex Venture Group, LLC d/b/a ZeekRewards.com. The August 17th order directs the Receiver to, among other things, take control and possession of and to operate the Receivership Estate, and to perform all acts necessary to conserve, hold, manage and preserve the value of the Receivership Estate.
On May 8, 2013, Judge Graham C. Mullen issued an Order approving (I) Claims Process, (II) Setting of Bar Date, and (III) Approving Notice Procedures. Pursuant to that order, the claims filing period opened May 15, 2013 and closed September 5, 2013.
The ZeekRewards Receivership has set up a website regarding ZeekRewards.com. Click here to view the Zeek Rewards Receivership website