LEXINGTON, N.C. -- WFMY News 2 investigated why the owner of Zeek Rewards, a $600 million Ponzi scheme, has not been criminally charged.
WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford started asking questions after Bert and Kathy Winkler from Crystal River, Fla. asked for help. The Winklers lost $10,000 after buying into Zeek Rewards.
"It doesn't just hurt my pocketbook, it hurts my heart," said Kathy Winkler.
The Winklers said they've had to swallow their pride and admit that they fell for a con job, but the Winklers are not alone.
Ken Bell is the U.S. District Court appointed receiver for Zeek Rewards, which means he's in charge of recovering money for victims of the Ponzi scheme. Bell said he estimates more than 800,000 people bought into Zeek Rewards.
The Securities and Exchange Commission closed Zeek Rewards in August 2012. Paul Burks agreed to pay a $4 million penalty.
WFMY wanted to know why no criminal charges have been filed against Burks, the mastermind behind the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.
Criminal charges can only be filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office. WFMY News 2 talked to the Chief Criminal Assistant at the Charlotte office who told us they don't comment on whether or not they're investigating a situation because it could interfere.
The chief did tell WFMY that they work closely with the SEC.
Information on the Zeek Rewards case and the SEC's civil suit can be found here: Zeek Rewards Investors
Last we heard, $300 million had been recovered to pay back victims of Zeek Rewards. A letter from the receiver back in October said 175,000 claims had been filed in excess of $590 million.
A public auction is being held next week to help raise money for some of the victims.
Half of the items on next week's Rex Venture Group's auction list are country music memorabilia. Federal investigators found the country music collection in 2012 after Burks' company was shut down.
Follow more updates on the Zeek Rewards Receivership website.
WFMY News 2