The ink is hardly dry on the SEC’s papers and the vultures are gathering to gloat over Zeek’s demise.
Was Zeek an illegal Ponzi scheme or is it the latest victim of an over-zealous American Justice system deliberately focusing on the biggest and most successful trophies it can find to extract the maximum publicity value?
I do not know the answer, but from what I do know, there are few, if any similarities to the Bernie Madoff case for example. It appears that the victims in this case are thousands of ordinary people depending on their Zeek income to survive, not wealthy investors. It also appears that many of those have become victims through the SEC’s action, not from the operation of the business.
There also appear to be a number of incorrect statements in the SEC papers and using the words “siphoned off” to describe the salary taken by the owner seems malicious to my simple mind. A salary that was modest by CEO standards given the size and complexity of the business.
Initially, I had my reservations about Zeek, I declined to get involved for a few months and then decided that on the information I could find, it was a reputable business. I did not put much into it, if I do not see a cent of that small investment back, it will not create a problem for me. Unlike many others who may have recovered their original stake but were depending on the monthly income.
There are other inconsistencies in the allegations, I expect the lawyers will be fighting this one for a long time.
Perhaps this was a brilliantly conceived and cleverly implemented pyramid scheme, if it was, I apologise for recommending it. But my instinct and inherent distrust of big government and the nanny state tells me otherwise. Maybe Zeek did not dot all the Is and cross all the Ts, but I have a strong suspicion that its major crime was rapid success with an unconventional business model.
A warning shot for entrepreneurs everywhere, and perhaps some of those doing the gloating should remember that they might be the next targets, may already be in the cross hairs of a scalp hunting prosecutor.
Supporting my suspicions of the USA justice system, is the recent huge fine levied on Standard Chartered Bank by the US authorities. The bank is alleged to have laundered money on behalf of Iran in contravention of US sanctions against that country. I have no sympathy for Iran and if the USA believes it to be a significant threat then do something significant about it instead of messing about with sanctions which do not seem to be slowing that country’s nuclear programme down at all.
If the bank broke the law, then it should pay a penalty, no argument there. But, I believe that this particular bank is essentially a British Institution with its shares listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges. Undoubtedly it will have international shareholders and presumably a significant American shareholding.
It is alleged that the bank’s USA office broke the sanctions law, so it follows that the USA bank division should be punished, however it seems that removing $340 million from an institution based in another country is a convenient way of enriching the USA government at the expense of (primarily) British shareholders. Many of those by virtue of pensions funded by pension fund investments in Standard Chartered.
Would the USA be as willing to act if the situation were reversed? I seem to remember that the Indian government felt they and the victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster were seriously shortchanged by both Union Carbide (later Dow Chemicals) and the USA government. Although the disaster claimed 3787 lives (some estimates as high as 8000) and caused hundreds of thousands of injuries, the compensation paid after a court ruling was $470 million.
Even allowing for inflation over the intervening 28 years, compared to Bhopal with its loss of life, either the Standard Chartered penalty is extremely harsh or the Bhopal payment an insult to the victims. Something is out of sync here.
Wishing you success.
p.s. One Internet Marketing opportunity that is not likely to be targeted is the 10K Challenge for which I wrote an update on 10 August Why do I think it is a safer bet? Because it is a system that teaches members how to promote established businesses, not an unusual new hybrid type of business. It won’t make you fantastically rich overnight as many of the big players in Zeek hoped but it will show you how to structure a solid business geared to give you a useful income – provided you do some work.
Check it out here 10K Challenge it won’t cost you anything to get started but I will earn a commission on some of the linked programmes if you join, work at it and start generating an income yourself.