LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) â¿¿ In a story March 30 about a $600 million investment scam, The Associated Press, relying on information from state regulators, reported erroneously that the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating the company at the center of the scheme in the summer of 2012. The federal agency, which declined to address the AP's questions when the story was being reported, said after it was published that it began investigating the company, ZeekRewards, in March 2012. Court records show the agency had begun looking into the company at least by that April.
The story also should have clarified that securities complaints from consumers in all 50 states are entered into a national database, which the SEC can access, and that the database included tips about ZeekRewards that came in prior to the SEC's investigation.
The AP also misspelled the first name of SEC spokeswoman Christina D'Amico.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Authorities: $600M scheme incubated in NC town
Authorities: $600M Ponzi scheme incubated in small NC town; regulators ignored complaints
By MITCH WEISS
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) â¿¿ In the hardware store on South Main Street, the owner pulled Caron Myers aside to tell her about the best thing to happen in years to this once-thriving furniture and textile town.
Did she hear about the online company ZeekRewards? For a small investment, she could make a fortune. He had invested. So had his grandsons. And so were more and more people in Lexington, including doctors, lawyers and accountants.
Skeptical at first, Myers drove a few blocks to the company's one-story, red-brick office and spotted a line of people circling the building. She was sold, and plunked down several thousand dollars. But months later, Myers, like hundreds of thousands of others, discovered the truth: ZeekRewards was a scam.