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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ponzi Scammers Kept It in the Family

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) - A North Carolina woman and her stepson will pay $11.4 million to settle Ponzi charges involving the $850 million ZeekRewards.com scam, the SEC said in a settled complaint.

Dawn Wright-Olivares, 45, will pay $8.2 million and her stepson Daniel Olivares, 31, will pay $3.3 million, the SEC said in a statement.

She was COO of ZeekRewards and he was its "master computer programmer," according to the SEC's federal lawsuit. Both live in Arkansas. They sold fraudulent, unregistered securities through Rex Venture Group (RVG) dba ZeekRewards.com.

"From approximately January 2011 until RVG and ZeekRewards were shut down in August 2012, RVG raised more than $850 million from approximately 1 million investors nationwide and overseas by making unregistered offers and sales of securities through the ZeekRewards website in the form of Premium Subscriptions and VIP Bids," the SEC said in the lawsuit.

Ninety-eight percent of the money the penny auction site paid it its suckers were Ponzi payments - new money used to pay out old investors, according to the SEC complaint.

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