FREE: PDF Handout On Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force; Document Compiles President’s Executive Order And Attorney General’s Speech In Florida
UPDATED 11:50 A.M. ET (U.S.A.) There were reports yesterday that things have become so strange at Florida-based AdSurfDaily that a convicted sex offender has emerged as a sort of PR voice for the company. ASD is implicated by the Department of Justice in a $100 million Ponzi scheme, amid allegations of wire fraud, money-laundering and the sale of unregistered securities. Two forfeiture complaints filed against the firm in 2008 also cite a racketeering statute.
After 17 months, more than 165 court filings — some of which can only be described as bizarre — and more than $1 million spent on legal fees by ASD President Andy Bowdoin, the company lost one of the forfeiture cases this week. It was filed by federal prosecutors and the U.S. Secret Service in August 2008, and is the “bigger” of the two cases.
“Bigger,” of course, is a relative term. For the purposes of this post, “bigger” is defined only as involving more money. A second forfeiture case filed by federal prosecutors and the Secret Service in December 2008 involves less money — but is equally grave. In some ways, the second case, which had not been adjudicated to conclusion but may be soon, is even graver than the August 2008 case. The December case defines Bowdoin family members and unnamed others as the beneficiaries of ASD’s fraud. The December case puts the alleged beneficiaries of the fraud squarely in the sights of a potential criminal prosecution for felonies that could lead to prison time.
We believe Bowdoin is more worried about the December case than he is the August case — even though no claims ever were filed in the December case. The names of his wife, his stepson and his stepson’s wife are mentioned repeatedly and prominently in the December case. Prosecutors also have hinted that they are very well aware of the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, which has Bowdoin family and promotional ties and rose to early prominence after ASD’s assets were seized, a racketeering lawsuit was filed against Bowdoin, a key court ruling went against ASD — and after Bowdoin had chosen to surrender his claims to the money seized in the August 2008 complaint.
Bowdoin then changed his mind, attempting to reassert his claims to the money seized in the August complaint by re-entering the case as a pro-se litigant.Â Bowdoin’s former paid counsel — a prominent law firm — informed the court that Bowdoin did not consult with it before filing the series of pro se motions.
None of Bowdoin’s pro se motions made an ounce of sense. They were so unclear, in fact, that the judge had to construe a meaning, which is to say what Bowdoin was attempting to do was not clear on the face of the motions. At one point, he appears to have attempted to reverse a decision he never made — namely, to submit to the forfeiture outlined in the December 2008 case. Bowdoin did not file a single document to gain standing in the December case or to make a claim — in fact, no potential claimant did.
And yet Bowdoin seems initially to have tried to overturn a forfeiture to which he never had submitted. Only later did Bowdoin file a specific pro se motion to overturn the August forfeiture. ASD members were so fixated on the August complaint — the “bigger” one in money terms — that they missed the nuclear danger of the December complaint. Lots of potential jail time is described in the December complaint.
Here is Bowdoin’s initial pro se filing to rescind the forfeiture, which was entered into the record Feb. 27, 2009.Â This motion addresses only property seized in the December 2008 complaint. Bowdoin never even established standing in the December case.Â Neither he nor attorneys employed by him or family members filed a single document in the case. So, as noted above, Bowdoin initially tried to overturn a forfeiture in a case in which he had no standing and perhaps would have trouble even gaining standing.
His pro se motions were a trainwreck and created even more problems for ASD. The judge ordered Bowdoin’s soon-to-be-former counsel to state their intentions and to instruct Bowdoin on important matters of law before asking for formal permission to withdraw from the case. One of the important matters was that corporate litigants cannot proceed pro se. Corporate litigants must use professional counsel. It is clear from the filings that Bowdoin’s pro se helpers overlooked this obvious flaw in the initial filings. Bowdoin later hired two new paid lawyers to help him navigate the choppy waters and to attempt to undo some of the damage caused by the pro se pleadings.
Now, it’s important to point out here that the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum — now suddenly defunct — championed Bowdoin’s pro se pleadings and was positively giddy for days after he attempted to re-enter the case. Bowdoin was heaped with praise. Prayers went out. People cheered him on as though his pro se advisers had scored some sort of dramatic win. As always was the case on Surf’s Up, the prosecution was condemned. Bowdoin urged ASD members to write to President Obama to gain his support in Bowdoin’s fight against the Secret Service.
The disconnect was both startling and troubling.
At some point during the late summer or early fall of 2009, someone apparently sympathetic to Bowdoin’s cause started this site at IContact; it’s called “Official ASD Update” and, from what we can tell, has all of one post. One of the names referenced on the site is “Edna Bowdoin” — the name of Bowdoin’s wife — but it is not clear that Ms. Bowdoin ever was at the site. Even so, her name appears in this Dec. 28, 2009, reference.
On some days, it is hard to quantify all the sadness associated with the ASD case.
One thing that is not hard to quantify is the madness. That madness finally eroded the lion’s share of Bowdoin’s support base. Prosecutors deserve a lot of credit for neatly undermining the wink-nod nature of autosurfs in a series of court filings. These filings showed the autosurf “industry” for what is: a cesspool that relies on the repetition of lies to suck new money into the schemes.
The IContact site, which perhaps was conceived as a new channel through which Bowdoin would communicate with members to keep them on his side as his court challenge continued, never emerged as a “voice” for Bowdoin. The madness had driven away the vast, vast majority of the ASD constituency. He even had lost much of the Surf’s Up crowd — something he must have realized. Why even start a second site if you’re confident in the existing communications network?
These days Bowdoin appears to be relying on a small network of insiders to stay in communication with the troops. Surf’s Up is gone. The second forum never gained a following.
Now, according to members, a person with a conviction for sex crimes involving children, is doing PR work for ASD. Whether it’s “official” or not is beside the point. The mere fact it is being done puts the madness associated with ASD on full display for any person on the email list of the promoter to see.
Yesterday (and previously) we wrote about the Interagency Financial Fraud Task Force established by President Obama in November 2009. We also wrote about a speech yesterday by Attorney General Eric Holder outlining responsibilities of the Task Force. Holder gave the speech in Florida, which was no accident. Florida is Ground-Zero for mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes and various forms of securities and financial fraud — not that other states also do not have the same problems.
We compiled the President’s Executive Order establishing the Task Force and Holder’s speech into a PDF. The document includes the entire Executive Order and the entire speech.
We’ve titled the document, “So, You Want To Join A Ponzi Scheme? Two Good Reasons To Say ‘No’ When A Friendly Upline Sponsor Approaches You In Person Or Via Email And Asks You To Join A Paid-To-Click ‘Advertising’ Program Online Or A ‘High-Yield Income Program’ (HYIP).”
Many, many people have turned their backs on the so-called autosurf “industry” because of their experiences with Andy Bowdoin and ASD. That’s a good thing, of course: Ponzi = Pain. We write about the pain caused by Ponzi schemes every day on this Blog.
Despite the daily news on Ponzi schemes and financial fraud, however, many, many people continue to participate in the schemes. They do so at their own peril, as Holder said yesterday. The White House and the Justice Department clearly have thrown down the gauntlet on mortgage fraud, securities fraud, Ponzi schemes and other types of financial fraud that can undermine local, regional and national economies — and the economy in the homes of families across the world.
Here is a free copy of our distillation of Obama’s Executive Order and Holder’s speech in Florida. It perhaps will make a handy desktop reference for you and members of your family. The document is based on public information released by the U.S. government.
What the government is doing is dreadful news to the Ponzi pushers — but it is good news for the global economy and to families across the world. We provide the document in the spirit of education, and sincerely hope that it can make at least a small difference in the lives of people who continue to believe there is something noble about collecting commissions for selling people into misery.
Thank you, Readers, for your daily visits.
P.S. In case you missed the link above to the PDF, here it is again. Forum owners are invited to make a copy of this document and post the document in their respective forums.