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Federal officials allege $600 million Ponzi scheme

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal securities regulators have filed fraud charges and an emergency order to freeze the assets of a North Carolina company officials say operated a $600 million Ponzi scheme now on the verge of collapse.

The action by the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday is intended to help investors recoup money and avoid devastating losses.

Online marketer Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C., is accused of raising money from more than 1 million customers through ZeekRewards.com, a website in operation less than 2 years.

ZeekRewards customers were offered ways to earn money through the site, including buying unregistered investment contracts that promised a share the company’s profits through rewards points that could be traded for cash payouts.

Burks could not be reached for comment Friday and the website has been taken down.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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