BREAKING NEWS: Bank Of America Granted Motion To Stay Case In Which Plaintiffs Said It Aided And Abetted Racketeers Running Florida Ponzi Scheme From A Former Flower Shop
A federal judge has granted a motion by Bank of America to stay a case in which it was alleged to have aided and abetted racketeers operating a Ponzi scheme from a former flower shop in Quincy, Fla.
The bank was not named a RICO defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed by members of AdSurfDaily Inc. Rather, the bank was alleged to have aided and abetted RICO defendants Andy Bowdoin, Robert Garner and unnamed others in a fraudulent scheme.
“The Bank has shown good cause for a stay,” U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said in an order late today.
“First, distribution of funds in the civil forfeiture case may moot at least a portion of Plaintiffsâ€™ claims for monetary recovery here,” Collyer said. “Second, in the civil forfeiture case the government has seized numerous documents that are necessary for discovery in this matter.”
Among other things, Bank of America argued that some people made money in ASD and that the government is sifting through records and has a plan to provide restitution to victims of the alleged ASD scheme.
Collyer’s order stayed the RICO case indefinitely. A separate case against assets tied to AdSurfDaily filed by the government is proceeding on a separate track.
It was a busy day for Collyer. First, the judge ordered Andy Bowdoin, AdSurfDaily Inc. and Bowdoin/Harris Enterprises Inc. to show cause by Aug. 7 why a series of motions filed by Bowdoin as a pro se litigant should not be denied.
Collyer noted in the order that Charles A. Murray, a paid attorney Bowdoin had hired after Bowdoin was advised months ago that a corporation could not proceed pro se, has not followed up on initial pleadings.
Neither Bowdoin nor Murray has followed up since May, Collyer noted. Bowdoin initially submitted to the forfeiture, formally asking the court for permission to do so in January and saying he would not open a new challenge for the money. Collyer granted Bowdoin’s request.
About five weeks later, however, Bowdoin said he’d changed his mind about submitting to the forfeiture and began to file as a pro se litigant. In a letter published on the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum, Bowdoin blamed his initial group of lawyers for ineffective counsel, saying a “group” of members who had reviewed his case had recommended a different approach.
Bowdoin proceeded as his own attorney, signing his first pro se pleading Feb. 25. At the same time, the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf — which has close Bowdoin family, membership and promoters’ ties — said it was transitioning into a “private association.”
Also today, Collyer issued an order that formalized the forfeiture of more than $14 million from Golden Panda Ad Builder, a firm associated with Clarence Busby. At one time, Busby was a RICO defendant in the lawsuit filed by the ASD members, but the plaintiffs dismissed the case against him.
In court filings, Busby said Bowdoin unexpectedly asked him to form Golden Panda Ad Builder during a fishing outing on a Georgia lake in April 2008. In only weeks of operation — including prelaunch — Golden Panda rocketed to nearly 20,000 members.
Just prior to the formal July launch of Golden Panda, members became aware that Busby had been implicated by the SEC in three prime-bank schemes that promised enormous returns during the 1990s. During the same time period, Bowdoin announced that he was too busy with ASD to serve as president of Golden Panda, saying Busby was uniquely in charge of Golden Panda’s operations.