ZeekRewards Head Pleads Guilty In $850M Ponzi Scheme

By Kira Lerner (February 5, 2014, 4:50 PM EST) -- A key player in an online penny auction site pled guilty in North Carolina federal court Wednesday to securities fraud and tax evasion stemming from her role in an $850 million Ponzi scheme.

Dawn Olivares and her stepson, Daniel Olivares, each pled guilty and face five years in prison for their roles at Zeekler.com, a penny auction site, and at ZeekRewards, a business designed to drive traffic to the penny auction. Prosecutors say 45-year-old Dawn Olivares diverted more than $7 million from ZeekRewards for her personal use.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission closed both companies in August 2012 when it launched...

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