Items from NC couple that bilked investors being sold - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Items from NC couple that bilked investors being sold

Posted: Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

Items owned by a North Carolina company that bilked more than $600 million from investors in a Ponzi scheme are being auctioned to help a federal court-appointed receiver recoup some of the money.
    
The merchandise includes a warehouse, office building and furniture, as well as promotional materials such as water bottles, coffee mugs and pens.
    
But half of the more than 1,000 items on the list for the Rex Venture Group's auction next week are reminders of the owner's country music past.
    
Paul Burks owned Rex Venture, which operated Lexington, N.C.-based online company ZeekRewards. Burks, 66, was a former county music disc jockey and magician, who performed in nursing homes in the 1980s and early 1990s.
    
Federal investigators found a massive country music memorabilia collection in 2012 after Burks' company was shut down during a fraud investigation. The memorabilia include pictures and prints autographed by country music stars, record label awards and costumes made by an iconic Nashville designer.
    
"It's a big collection and is drawing a lot of attention," said William Lilly Jr. of Iron Horse Auction Co., of Rockingham, N.C.
    
The company is handling the two-day auction, which begins Monday. People can view the items on the company's website.
    
A federal judge two months ago gave permission to receiver Kenneth Bell to sell Rex Venture's personal property items at a public auction.
    
Bell, a Charlotte attorney, said Monday that the collection was found in a company warehouse. He said he couldn't put a value on how much the items were worth, but said proceeds of the auction will be added to a fund for people who lost money in the scam.
    
The auction is the latest development in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.
    
Authorities say Burks was the mastermind of the scam, which attracted 1 million investors, including nearly 50,000 in North Carolina.
    
Rex Venture operated several online ventures, including Zeekster.com, a penny auction site, and ZeekRewards, a business designed to drive traffic to the penny auction.
    
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which closed the operation Aug. 17, 2012, accused Burks in a civil complaint of fraud. The SEC said the scheme used money from new investors to pay the earlier ones.   Investigators also say Burks siphoned millions for his personal use. But he has not been charged with a crime. He has agreed to pay a $4 million penalty and cooperate with the receiver.
    
Burks has told The Associated Press he couldn't discuss details of the case, but that he never told anyone to invest more money than they could afford.
    
Long before Rex Venture, Burks, who grew up in Louisiana, worked as a country music disc jockey. He became friends with country singer David Houston, who had a string of country hits in the 1960 and 1970s.
    
In the 1980s, Houston began performing at nursing homes, saying he wanted to give something back to the community. Burks joined him, opening as a magician who also sometimes sang and told jokes. He worked with Houston until the country singer's death in 1993.
    
At the time of Houston's death, Burks was living in North Carolina.
    
Several items being auctioned belonged to singer Barbara Mandrell, who performed with Houston at the beginning of her career in the early 1970s. They include an outfit she wore in the mid-1990s: matching blue jacket, pants and boots. She also signed a guitar.
    
Meanwhile, the victims are still waiting to see if they will get any money back.
    
Of the hundreds of millions that were paid out to investors, Bell has recovered more than $320 million. So far, 175,000 people have filed claims.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mysterious "woman in black" spotted in Tennessee

    Mysterious "woman in black" spotted in Tennessee

    A mysterious figure is capturing the attention of social media. She's been nicknamed "the woman in black" and she's been spotted in different parts of east Tennessee including Madisonville, Athens, Sweetwater and now Morgan County.
    A mysterious figure is capturing the attention of social media. She's been nicknamed "the woman in black" and she's been spotted in different parts of east Tennessee including Madisonville, Athens, Sweetwater and now Morgan County.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
  • Local Contractor Sued Over School Construction

    Local Contractor Sued Over School Construction

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:48 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:48:12 GMT
    Four minority subcontractors have sued Rives Worrell, a Savannah general contractor, who they say exploited their protected status to win the Hesse K-8 construction project.
    Four minority subcontractors have sued Rives Worrell, a Savannah general contractor, who they say exploited their protected status to win the Hesse K-8 construction project.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 06:56:56 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.