PART 2: PROSECUTION BOMBSHELL(S): Operators And ‘Insiders’ Received ‘Millions Of Dollars’ From ASD; Bowdoin Changed Subject When Told What He Was Doing Was ‘Not Mathematically Possible’; Government Targeted ASD Money In Iowa Bank Accounts
EDITOR’S NOTE: See Part One here.
UPDATED 1:46 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) AdSurfDaily “paid out millions of dollars to operators and insiders,” according to a U.S. Secret Service affidavit originally filed under seal in February 2009.
But ASD President Andy Bowdoin changed the subject when people told him that what Florida-based ASD was doing not only was illegal, but also was “not mathematically possible,” according to the affidavit.
What he was trying to do, according to court filings, was establish at least three autosurfs that would generate Ponzi-extending cash while Bowdoin positioned them as legitimate “advertising” businesses.
And Bowdoin also wanted to persuade members that he had discovered a formula that purportedly made it possible for ASD to set aside 50 percent of its daily revenue and pay participants 125 percent of what they paid in — all while planting the seed that members could expect a return of 8 percent a day on some days.
Investigators saw things a different way, saying ASD was creating a minimum liability of $1.25 for every dollar it took in.
“Try it — it works,” Bowdoin simply told the doubters, changing the subject instead of addressing the mathematical realities, according to the Secret Service.
There was too little profit in operating legitimately, Bowdoin told a consultant, according to the Secret Service.
As ASD was facing a Ponzi abyss, a consultant told Bowdoin there was a way for ASD to clean up its act, according to the Secret Service.
“Bowdoin, however, was dissatisfied with the consultant’s revenue sharing proposal and with the limited revenue a legitimate business would produce,” the Secret Service alleged in the February 2009 affidavit. “Bowdoin rejected the consultant’s plan and terminated his relationship with the consultant.”
Bowdoin had arrived at his 50-in/125-out formula after an earlier formula in which ASD purportedly had set aside 60 percent of its revenue to pay participants 150 percent of what they paid in had brought on a Ponzi collapse that caused the company to cease operations and leave investors in limbo for weeks in 2007, according to the Secret Service.
ASD’s original formula was concocted by Bowdoin and his “silent partner,” a man who recruited Bowdoin into the 12DailyPro autosurf Ponzi scheme, according to the Secret Service.
Both of ASD’s formulas were just a means of hiding ASD’s true nature as a financial beast with a fatal disease, according to court filings.
Despite the spectacular collapse of 12DailyPro amid Ponzi allegations filed by the SEC in early 2006, Bowdoin and his silent partner ruminated that 12DailyPro simply had promised to pay out too much money on a daily basis, according to the Secret Service.
Upstart ASD, Bowdoin and his silent partner speculated, could take regulators out of play and avoid the Ponzi fate of 12DailyPro by telling investors that the firm would pay out less money and by introducing verbal sleight-of-hand to disguise the true nature of the business, according to the Secret Service.
ASD also speculated that it could circumvent the Ponzi problem and law-enforcement scrutiny by suggesting that ASD’s payouts, which the firm called “rebates,” were not “guaranteed,” according to the Secret Service.
Despite telling members to “Try it — it works,” Bowdoin had no confidence in his business model and knew it was still a Ponzi despite the post-12DailyPro tweaking. In the end, according to court documents and other records, ASD still was telling investors they’d get back more than they paid in and, on a yearly basis, would receive a return of 365 percent at a “rebate” rate of 1 percent a day.
Even as ASD was playing in the post-12DailyPro fields and grew eventually to suck in tens of millions of dollars a week, less than 2 percent of its revenue came from external sources. More than 98 percent came from members and was simply being recycled to other members to keep the Ponzi afloat, according federal prosecutors.
At a certain point in time, Bowdoin did away with unlimited purchases and limited the amount investors could pay ASD to $12,000 “because he did not want members to lose too much money should ASD collapse,” according to the February 2009 Secret Service affidavit.
The import of the claim is that prosecutors can argue to a jury that Bowdoin himself was worried about the imminent demise of ASD — a demise Bowdoin brought on through the use of various mathematical concoctions, linguistic fantasies and fabrications designed to separate people from their money to keep the Ponzi afloat.
Meanwhile, the claim sets the stage for prosecutors to tell a jury that Bowdoin anticipated a catastrophe and sought to insulate himself from prosecution by suggesting that ASD did not guarantee rebates and that customers were purchasing “advertising,” as opposed to entering into an investment contract with ASD.
“[T]o ensure that no individual investor monopolized the rebate pool, and to reduce the
likelihood that any individual investor would suffer a catastrophic loss, Bowdoin placed a limit on the amount of ‘advertising’ members could purchase,” the Secret Service said. “Of course, it would have made no sense to impose such limitations if ASD was actually selling, and members actually were purchasing, Internet advertising.”
Bowdoin’s various stories were at odds with themselves, the Secret service alleged. Even as Bowdoin was telling members ASD was not in the investment business and instead was a provider of advertising “rebates,” ASD’s computer systems described member payouts as “ROI” — for Return on Investment.
And even as he positioned himself as a Christian “money magnet” and merchant who’d been recognized by the President of the United States — and even as he purportedly was enforcing a $12,000 purchase ceiling to minimize the chance an individual investor would become engulfed in a calamity — Bowdoin told attendees of company “rallies” in U.S. cities that ASD would match the money they plowed into the firm 50 cents on the dollar.
“At the rallies, to raise more money, Bowdoin concocted the idea of running ‘rally-only promotions,’” the Secret Service alleged. “New members were told they would receive a 50% bonus for joining at the rally. For example, if a new member purchased $500 in ‘ad packages’ as a bonus she would be credited $750 to her account. Representatives of ASD stated this was a ‘World Wide Wealth’ program that was available to anyone with Internet access.”
In early 2008, Bowdoin became a participant in a scheme with a “North Carolina” attorney to assure prospects that ASD had been vetted and was operating lawfully. ASD’s 26-minute legality video and the rallies caused tens of millions of dollars suddenly to flow into the firm, according to the Secret Service.
Just a year earlier, the company suspended operations because it was starved for cash flow and faced a collapsed Ponzi, according to the Secret Service. ASD’s response to the collapse was to launch a new autosurf Ponzi under a new name — and to port the accounts of its original set of victims into the new scheme, where the payouts early loyalists had expected would be funded by incoming participants who did not know their money was being distributed to Bowdoin’s orginal victims.
Later in 2008, as spring and summer warmth returned to northern climes, ASD found people throwing money at it. Some of the people who threw money at ASD did so at rallies in Iowa, according to the Secret Service.
Affidavit For Seizure Targeted At At Least 7 Iowa Bank Accounts
The PP Blog reported in December 2010 that funds traced to Bowdoin and two other ASD members had been targeted in yet-another forfeiture action in the District of Columbia. The action was filed less than three weeks after Bowdoin’s Dec. 1 arrest by federal agents in Florida on Ponzi-related charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and selling unregistered securities.
Prosecutors’ December civil-forfeiture action was at least the third targeted at assets owned by Bowdoin. Assets of two other ASD members — Erma “Web Room Lady” Seabaugh and Robyn Lynn Stevenson (also: Robyn Lynn) of Florida — also were targeted.
The civil case against Bowdoin’s assets is on hold because of the criminal allegations against him. But the cases against the assets of Seabaugh and Lynn remain active. Neither Seabaugh nor Lynn had filed a claim for the money as of Friday.
In the case against Seabaugh’s assets, the government was authorized to seize $213,693 from a bank account, but found only $153,097 in the account. The Secret Service seized $96,525 from two bank accounts linked to Lynn.
Some of the money Seabaugh plowed into ASD originated at E-Bullion, a shuttered California money-services business operated by convicted murderer James Fayed, who ordered the execution of his estranged wife in 2008.
Pamela Fayed, a potential witness against her husband on matters pertaining to E-Bullion and an associated business known as Goldfinger Coin & Bullion, was slashed to death in a Los Angeles-area parking garage on July 28, 2008.
On Aug. 1, 2008, the Secret Service seized tens of millions of dollars from Bowdoin’s bank accounts. The December 2010 claim by federal prosecutors that Seabaugh had used E-Bullion to fund one of her ASD accounts was the first public tie between ASD and E-Bullion, which has been linked to multiple Ponzi schemes.
Seabaugh had multiple ASD accounts with multiple email addresses — and appeared to be “selling her own investment ‘ad packs’ to clients and representing herself as ASD,” the Secret Service alleged.
The PP Blog learned on June 10 that the Secret Service, in February 2009, also targeted proceeds in seven bank accounts belonging to ASD members in Iowa for forfeiture. In an affidavit, the agency said the accounts contained at least $413,018.
How the cases are evolving was not immediately clear. The Secret Service, according to the affidavit, identified the assets as proceeds of an ASD-related wire-fraud scheme.
Acting as pro se pleaders and using a litigation template associated with ASD participant Curtis Richmond, one of the so-called Arby’s Indians, two of the individuals associated with the Iowa accounts cited by the Secret Service in the February 2009 affidavit later attempted unsuccessfully to intervene in the main civil-forfeiture case against Bowdoin’s assets.
The February 2009 Secret Service affidavit identifies the individuals as Joyce and Michael Haws.
“Joyce Haws was an active participant in and large promoter of the ASD wire fraud
scheme,” the Secret Service alleged in the affidavit. “Ms. Haws was one of several people who requested and facilitated one of the first rallies within ASD, in Ankeny, Iowa, on about March 15th, 2008.”
Haws recruited her mother and others into the scheme, according to the affidavit.
Walter Clarence Busby Jr., a Georgia minister and Bowdoin’s alleged business partner in Golden Panda Ad Builder, identified Joyce Haws and her “spouse” in 2008 as “founders” of Golden Panda.
In the same Busby affidavit, filed on Aug. 29, 2008, Busby identified Robyn Lynn as the person who introduced him to ASD.
Curtis Richmond was an early mainstay in the ASD story. He has a contempt-of-court conviction for threatening federal judges, has been banned from the practice of law in Colorado even though he is not an attorney and has been sued successfully under the federal racketeering statute for harassing public officials and participating in schemes to place bogus financial judgments against them.
Richmond, who proclaimed himself a sovereign being answerable only to God, was a member of a Utah “Indian” tribe a federal judge ruled a “sham.” The “tribe” got its derisive name — the Arby’s Indians — because it once held a meeting in an Arby’s restaurant.
The “tribe” also used the address of a Utah doughnut shop as the address of its “Supreme Court,” while threatening public officials with arrest and detention for carrying out their official duties.