Lexington, NC -- It's a $600 million Ponzi scheme that's not on Wall Street, but out of Lexington, North Carolina.
Friday, the Securities Exchange Commission froze the assets of penny auction website Zeek Rewards.
The SEC's complaint says more than one million people from all over the world invested in the company and according to Forbes magazine; Zeek may be the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
Some of the victims said they were promised upwards of ten-thousand dollars in payouts. But now, they'll be lucky to get their initial investment back.
"We need to start the healing process and letting these people know there is somebody in their corner not only with just talking about Zeek but was part of Zeek and feels the pain too," said Earl Harrison, a radio host in Lexington, NC.
Earl invested $2,000 in Zeek Rewards.
He says he earned more than $10,000 but the check never came.
"We made that mistake and we are feeling it. We are feeling the loss of the finances that we put into Zeek," said Harrison. "Not only did we lose, but you're talking one million people and over three to four million people will feel the effect, people with children and families and so we just hoping, We are just asking Paul Burks and Zeek Corporation to do the right thing."
He's given up on Zeek's promise. Now, he just wants his investment back, just like 90 other alleged victims who hired attorney Cal Cunningham.
"These are real people. They're from right here in our community and they've really been hurt by what's happened. We're talking about the parents of a child who needs that money for medical care, we're talking, and we're representing folks from all walks of life," said Cunnigham.
"When you put something in, you expect to get something out."
Earl told Sandy Johnson about Zeek Rewards and she jumped at the chance.
"I assumed that it was ok just because everybody, it was the heat of the night, everybody was talking about it, it was the buzz around town."
Sandy says the disappointment with Zeek is just a part of life.
As for Earl, he is providing comfort to people who may never see their money again.
"We need to start the healing process."
The man the SEC says is the mastermind behind this whole operation is 65-year-old Paul Burks. He lives in Lexington and is the sole owner of Rex Venture Group, LLC and controls Zeek Rewards, Zeekler and other sites.
According to the SEC complaint, Burks made all the decisions about the flow of money at Zeek rewards.
The report says each and every day he was the one who arbitrarily decided the daily payout rate that decided how much money went to each Zeek investor.
It wasn't based on the company's net profits as advertised but they say he determined it every day so it averaged one-point-five percent per day.
The SEC also says Burks personally siphoned several million dollars of investors' funds while operating Rex Venture and Zeek Rewards and distributed at least one million dollars to his family members.
WFMY News 2