Two ponzi scammers got their prison sentences handed down recently in early 2017.
Paul Burks, who was the head of the $939 million Zeek Rewards ponzi scheme with over 1 million victims around the world, got 14 years in a Federal prison, in addition to fines of $244 million in restitution (which he can't pay as he already gave up all his possessions) and 3 years probation. Given that Burks is already 70 years old and is believed to be not in the best of health, he may spend his final days in prison.
Two other top heads of the scheme, Daniel Olivarez (computer guru) and Dawn Wright-Olivares (VP of Operations and spokesperson) have been sentenced previously to lesser terms for their contributory roles in the scam that was shut down in 2012 by SEC and Secret Service. It was believed they were fined and have to give up their residence. There was no word on what happened to a restaurant Dawn allegedly operated, or what happened to her job at a different MLM company called iWowwe.
MLM Skeptic had been tracking Zeek Rewards for over a year before it was shut down and published several articles explaining how Zeek Rewards cannot be legitimate. Indeed, in the final days of their scam they tried to gag me with a "takedown request" to my content host by claiming MLMSkeptic had violated their trademark when it was quickly realized that the alleged trademarks was not even owned by them! Must be really desperate over there in their final days, as only a few weeks later when SEC and Secret Service stepped in.
In other news, co-leader of a smaller ponzi known as "The Achieve Community", Kristine Johnson, was sentenced to 21 months in Federal Prison. TAC, which is peanuts compared to Zeek, was shutdown in 2015 by SEC. It was a pretty simple Ponzi scheme that didn't bother to polish itself by hiring celebrity lawyers and experts and pretending to be legitimate. They mainly stuck to Facebook and such, by claiming "triple algorithm" that can multiply money... What utter nonsense.
MLM Skeptic had not been tracking TAC but it was identified early on by Oz of BehindMLM as a simple cycler ponzi scheme.
What do these two scams have in common? It's actually quite simple..
ZeekRewards claimed that if you buy their bidpacks, and give them away as "promotional items" to people, you can then share in their auction profits. In reality, the profits are from the bids the participants had purchased, but rigged in a way that the early joiners, with "points" already accumulated, take most of the payouts, while the new participants are encouraged to leave their money inside to accumulate.
TL;DR = give us money, take out a lot more later.
It is so obviously an investment, and an UNregistered investment at that, but simple Googling will reveal a trove of bogus reasoning written by people, desperate to bring in more money into the system so they have more to be taking out, that denied simple facts (like the amount of auctions could have never generated the amount of profit being paid out).
Furthermore, Zeek hired big attorneys (Nehra and Waak, famous MLM attorneys) and pay for ceremonies, consultants, and more to look legitimate.
The Achieve Community (TAC) did not even bother with the disguises about running a penny auction to generate the revenue. They don't claim to be running a business at all.
TL;DR = give us money, take out more later
When asked how are they generating additional money, they claimed some "triple algorithm", which turned out to be completely fictional... There is no algorithm. Yet both leaders took out tens of thousands of dollars and transferred them into their personal accounts and spent them on themselves.
It's obviously a Ponzi.
The common factor is greed... People believe that one can earn money without doing much of anything.
It is this greed that ruin people.