Just over a week after the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office confirmed they’d demanded information from Zeek Rewards and had concerns about their business model, Zeek Rewards has pulled the plug on both Zeek Rewards,
and Rex Venture’s Zeekler penny auctions:
At the time of publication, Rex Ventures’ news blog ‘Zeek Rewards News’ and ‘Shopping Daisy were the only two company properties that remained online.
The Zeek Rewards Facebook page also remains online, however the company has stepped up its efforts to prohibit complaints being published to the site. Zeek Rewards affiliates have reported that in addition to having their comments deleted by the group’s admin that their Facebook accounts had also been banned from participating.
Troubles for Zeek Rewards began this week when the company abruptly announced the cancellation of all ‘training, recruitment or leadership calls ‘ on Monday. Zeek Rewards attributed the cancellation to ‘planning’ but what they were planning was not disclosed.
Troy Dooly from MLMHelpdesk, credited by Rex Ventures as being an official Zeek Rewards “Training Consultant”, recently assured people that despite the NC AG’s announced investigation, plans for Zeek Rewards’ next “Red Carpet” event were on track with the event scheduled to take place next week.
Today, all that changed with Zeek Rewards announcing that
Red Carpet Wednesday, scheduled for Wednesday, August 22, 2012 has been cancelled.
A similar message appeared on the official Zeek Rewards support forum, warning affiliates that the topic was not up for discussion:
This topic is no longer open for comments or replies. No Posts regarding this will be entertained.
Shortly after this communication was made, it was then reported that Zeek Rewards’ North Carolina offices had been shut down.
I’ve received and read different accounts of what exactly went down at Zeek HQ today, but from what I can gather around 2:30pm local time someone was seen changing the locks of the office with Zeek Rewards, whilst Zeek employees were observed leaving the office via the backdoor and carrying boxes of office supplies.
Supporting these observations, unconfirmed reports that Zeek Rewards employees were fired have also emerged:
Charles Marsh – Anyone know why they closed the doors, fired their employees and changed the locks this afternoon at 2:30?
Zeek posted a note and said they would update affiliates on their website but I haven’t found anything yet. Anyone have any idea what is going on?
And we’ve received reports that Zeek’s locks were changed by the NC AG office themselves:
FYI, NC AG just closed down Zeek and changed the locks.
Some North Carolina locals have also suggested that the FBI might have been involved:
It’s not idle speculation, it was the FBI. Since I live in Lexington, a pretty small town, news like that travels incredibly fast.
At the time of publication, the NC AG has not put out any information regarding todays events.
A few hours after Zeek Rewards’ HQ shut down, both the Zeek Rewards and Zeekler auction sites were then taken offline. Following both sites being pulled, affiliates have also started to report problems with attempts to cash out,
I get a server error when trying to click on “cash available” or “request a check” 404 – File or directory not found. Same when trying to get a commission payment. Not looking good here.
indicating that more than just the Zeekler and Zeek Rewards websites have been taken offline.
Thus far no official announcement has been made by the company, other than messages stuck to the doors of the office urging affiliates to ‘wait for further announcements‘.
Troy Dooly, who has in recent months been largely credited with being able to put a positive spin on anything Zeek Rewards (he claimed the NC AG’s investigation into Zeek Rewards was positively “exciting”), is currently MIA.
Additionally Dooly’s website, MLMHelpdesk appears to either be down or having capacity problems:
Please keep in mind that this is a breaking news story so we’ll keep you updated with news as we receive them. Additionally you can read the comments below for live updates and discussion.
Update 9:22am August 17th, 2012 – Zeek Rewards have just pulled the plug on their company Facebook page. No explanation has been provided.
Update 10:08am August 17th, 2012 – Troy Dooly has surfaced in a new video claiming that the changing of locks at Zeek HQ is only evidence of an ‘administrative investigation of some kind‘.
Dooly also claims that employees carrying boxes out of Zeek offices means ‘there’s not any type of criminal investigation going on‘ and that the Zeek Rewards and Zeekler websites being pulled offline is a ‘good indication a regulatory body has told Zeek (Rex Venture Group) that “you’re not taking in any new money, period.”‘
Despite claiming just a few days ago that Zeek’s Red Carpet day was going ahead as planned, Dooly also claimed Zeek cancelling the event “was expected”.
He confirms that as of yet he has heard nothing back from Zeek Rewards management on today’s events.
Update 10:17am August 17th, 2012 – Zeek Rewards’ affiliate marketing website ‘You Get Paid to Advertise’ has also now been pulled offline:
Update 12:22pm August 17th, 2012 – Troy Dooly’s personal lawyer, “MLM Attorney” Kevin Thompson, has weighed in on today’s events:
Breaking news on Zeek Rewards. It looks like they’re toast.
Here’s what we know:
All employees at the Zeek office have been terminated.
The Zeek website is down.
It looks like the investigation has escalated to the next level. If you pitched Zeek as an investment to your downline, you should’ve known better.
If you’ve got money locked up in Zeek, good luck getting it out. There’s probably not going to be any movement in or out of the those accounts without a court order.
I wish I had better news…
Troy Dooly reported back in March that Kevin Thompson had been retained by Bidify as an attorney. Bidify are a MLM penny auction company operating in the US (based offshore in Seychelles) that offer affiliates a similar point investment business model to Zeek Rewards.
Update 8:03pm August 17th, 2012 – Troy Dooly has published the following statement on MLMHelpdesk:
This escalated investigation will have an effect on all MLM Penny Auctions currently in business or in pre-launch!
What Dooly is specifically referring to at this time unclear. He has however stated that later today he expects to ‘be talking to Greg Caldwell and will get some additional information‘.
Why Zeek Rewards COO Greg Caldwell is willing to talk to Troy Dooly when thousands of Zeek Rewards are still in the dark pending an official update from the company is also unclear.
Update 11:20pm August 17th, 2012 – Patrick Pretty just dropped a bombshell revealing that the NC AG’s office were not responsible for yesterday’s closures:
The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper told the PP Blog this morning that it has taken no action to shut down Zeek, the operator of an MLM and a penny-auction site.
“We have not taken action to shut the company down and are currently working to get more information so we can pass that along to consumers who may be impacted by this,” said Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper.
Additionally Pretty also reveals that the NC AG had issued Zeek Rewards a Civil Investigative Demand way back on July 6th, and not over the last week or so – as had been widely believed.
Of course neither Zeek Rewards management, staff or insiders ever bothered to go public with this information, with Zeek Rewards members continuing to sign up new investors in droves completely unaware of the possibility of pending regulatory action.
One can only now wonder what other investigations Zeek Rewards management have been keeping secret from their members.
More importantly however, with the NC AG’s Office announcing they did not order the closure of Zeek Rewards yesterday, who did?
Update 1:14am August 18th, 2012 – North Carolina’s “The-Dispatch” have managed to contact Zeek Rewards’ PR spokesperson, Clifton Jolley:
Dr. Clifton Jolley, Zeek’s media representative, confirmed the company was served a CID, but he would not disclose why Zeek shut its doors voluntarily.
Paul Burks, the chief executive officer for Rex Venture Group, has yet to respond to multiple phone calls and emails.
The NC AG office also currently have a recorded phone message up informing callers that they didn’t shut down Zeek Rewards HQ and that they’ve contacted Zeek for an explanation.
In the absence of an official statement from Rex Venture Group and Jolley’s coyness, this is now starting to look like some kind of Zeek Rewards/Zeekler PR stunt gone horribly wrong.
Or if you’re more of a cynic, a corporate exit-strategy.
Zeek Rewards COO Greg Caldwell has apparently told Troy Dooly he’ll speak to him later today.
Update 3:52am 18th August, 2012 – Citing Secret Service Special Agent Glen Kessler, The Dispatch are now reporting Zeek Rewards is being investigated by the Secret Service in co-ordination with the SEC.
The U.S. Secret Service has confirmed it is investigating Zeek Rewards as well as the company’s chief executive officer, Paul Burks.
Special Agent Glen Kessler said the Secret Service, in coordination with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is working a joint case on Zeek Rewards, the company’s affiliate program and an entity of Rex Venture Group LLC, which is based in Lexington.
When asked if the Secret Service had anything to do with Zeek Rewards shutting its doors, Kessler informed The Dispatch that ‘the Secret Service does not comment on ongoing investigations’.
Update 6:00am August 18th, 2012 – The SEC have filed charges in court against Zeek Rewards, Rex Ventures and CEO Paul Burks.
They have also credited themselves with shutting down all of Rex Venture Group’s operations.