EDITORIAL: As Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Website (StopFraud.gov) Spotlights AdSurfDaily Prosecution, Bizarre Email Circulating Among ASD Members Raises New Conspiracy Theories
UPDATED 10:31 A.M. EDT (U.S.A).
ASD case subject of discussion in Washington’s highest power corridors: The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force was formed by President Obama in November 2009. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, a member of the President’s cabinet and the chief law-enforcement officer of the U.S. government, presides over the Task Force.
Secret Service is charter member of Task Force. The U.S. Secret Service, whose duties include protecting the President of the United States, the integrity of the economy and the financial infrastructure of the nation, is a member of the Task Force.
Among the allegations in the ASD case is that members were falsely trading on the name of then-President George W. Bush to sanitize a $110 million Ponzi scheme, that ASD President Andy Bowdoin encouraged the false claims and arranged to spend Ponzi proceeds to retire the $157,000 mortgage on a home in Tallahassee occupied by his wife’s son and the son’s wife, purchase a lakefront home in Florida, purchase an $800,000 building (for cash), purchase jet skis, a Cabana boat, haul trailers and marine equipment — all while owing restitution to victims of an Alabama securities caper in the 1990s and “thousands of dollars” to an ex-wife.
Some of the purchases occurred within days of Bowdoin’s return from a May 2008 ASD “rally” in Las Vegas at which he defined himself as a Christian “money magnet” and encouraged others to follow him in thanking God and becoming like-minded “money magnets.” At the rally, Bowdoin urged members not to miss the opportunity to provide ASD with money by the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, according to records.
“Thank you, God, for destining me to great wealth,” he exhorted the Las Vegas crowd to internalize and recite during the day.
And he exhorted members to picture themselves wealthy.
“See a big check coming in from AdSurfDaily,” he urged. “I signed a check the other day, about $22,000. See those checks like that coming for you constantly, just flowing to you.”
One of Bowdoin’s business partners — Walter Clarence Busby Jr., the operator of the Golden Panda autosurf — was implicated by the SEC in three prime-bank schemes in the 1990s, according to records. Golden Panda, according to Busby, was hatched after he went fishing with Bowdoin on a Georgia lake in April 2008. Just days after the fishing expedition, Bowdoin boarded a plane and flew to Costa Rica, according to court filings.
Weeks after his return from Costa Rica, Bowdoin headed to Washington, D.C., to rub elbows with politicians, according to court filings.
Read the full news release on the AdSurfDaily case here. It is published on StopFraud.gov, the Task Force website.
New conspiracy theory emerges after government compensates ASD victims. As often has been the case, some ASD members appear not to have taken the clue that top Justice Department officials and perhaps the White House itself are being briefed on developments in the ASD case. The ASD case became a national-security case when the U.S. Secret Service discovered in 2008 that Andy Bowdoin, a recidivist securities swindler in his seventies who allegedly had “earned no significant income from legal employment in the twenty years prior to his commencement of ASD’s operation,” suddenly was sitting on tens of millions of dollars and had handed out some of it to political rainmakers.
Some of the handouts, which came in the form of contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), occurred in early 2007, even as the first Ponzi scheme iteration of ASD was collapsing and the firm’s original members were left holding the bag while Bowdoin explained $1 million had been stolen by “Russian” hackers. Bowdoin did not file a police report about the purported theft because he did not want to draw the attention of law enforcement, according to court filings.
The NRCC handouts continued in 2008, after Bowdoin had changed the name of his collapsed autosurfing venture from AdSurfDaily to ASD Cash Generator, plumbed it with new cash from a new group of suckers, started a second Ponzi venture known as LaFuenteDinero, arranged with Busby to form a third Ponzi-in-waiting (Golden Panda) and had flown to Costa Rica with a “North Carolina lawyer” (and co-owner) of LaFuenteDinero, according to court filings and Federal Election Commission records.
In a bizarre email that began to circulate among ASD members yesterday, the seed was planted that that the government was trying to recruit witnesses by luring them with remissions payments — and that prosecutors might claw back the remissions money if the member “did not cooperate in testifying against ASD.”
The date upon which the email was written could not immediately be determined, but the email appears to be the second in a two-part series sent after ASD members began to receive remissions payments late last week.
The content of the email, which was described as “insider information” and attributed in part to an unamed third party who purportedly overheard a conversation involving a federal prosecutor at an unspecified location, was titled, “Important Warning: ASD/Golden Panda.”
Among the suggestions in the email was that the government planned to “force” ASD members who received remissions distributions to testify against Bowdoin in his upcoming criminal trial on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and selling unregistered securities. The email was signed “Sara.”
Here is the email verbatim (italics added):
Since I sent the last email update about ASD/Golden Panda monies being received by members, I received some very important insider information you should know. This is an important warning.
The information (these are not quotes) I am sharing with you was spoken by and was heard directly from an attorney for the government, in relation to the ASD legal case. I must protect the source but I can assure you it is reliable (it is not Andy). I was told that the person heard the government attorney say they had hired the Rust Company to send a remission form by email and US-mail to ASD and Golden Panda members. The form was to be sent under the pretense that the member would get their money back if they filled out the form to request a remission of their ASD/Golden Panda monies seized by the government on 8/1/08. Those members would then receive their remission monies directly into their bank accounts, but the attorney said that their names would go onto a list and they would then be summoned by the court (at the members own expense) to testify against ASD. They would be forced to testify against ASD even if they did not believe that ASD was illegal, because the form they signed was set up in such a way that the member was essentially stating that ASD victimized them in an illegal business. I’m imagining a typical scenario in court would be: The attorney for the government would read statements from the form and the member’s answers and then say something like, “Is this your signature?” to force the member into saying that the statements were theirs. And, take note, that it was also mentioned by the attorney that the direct deposit into the member’s account could be reversed at any time if ASD should eventually lose the case or if the member did not cooperate in testifying against ASD. If the money isn’t in the account anymore, it would be money owed back to the government, so moving the money would not help. The addendum that I was advised to suggest to you if you were drawn to fill out the form (sent by the Rust Company on behalf of the government) that stated that you did not make an investment in ASD/Golden Panda, but rather bought advertising, would apparently protect you from the government’s tactics, but I honestly do not know that for sure.
Many of us had major red flags when we read the form as it was obvious what the government was trying to do. That’s why it was advised that members add the addendum to their form, to protect themselves from the government’s deceptive practices. So pray about how you should proceed. Please don’t ask me. I can’t make this decision for you.
The email appears to have followed the email below, which divines a construction by which the government seized ASD money illegally and set up the remissions program only because ASD members outraged at the illegal seizure demanded the return of their funds (verbatim/italics added):
“Dear ASD & Golden Panda Members-
I have some news! ASD and Golden Panda Members have recently received a “remission” of the money that was in their ASD and/or Golden Panda accounts, deposited directly into their personal bank accounts by the government; amounts like $50,000 and $60,000 and it was apparently 100% of the money that was owed to them!
Personally, I am stunned. My experience over the last decade or more has been that the government has never fulfilled their obligation to return money they have seized from programs they deemed illegal. My opinion is that they are scrambling to do this in order to diffuse the outrage ASD members have felt toward the government from their (in my opinion, illegal) seizure of members’ account funds, so that members will have less opposition toward the government during the eventual ASD trial.
But, for whatever reason the government is doing it, it is irrelevant to those relieved members who are finally receiving justice from this (in my opinion, illegal) seizure.
If you have not received your remission, you can go to this website to fill out the form there: adsurfdailyremission.com. You can also call the following toll free information line for more information and even talk to a customer service agent in person to ask any questions you might have about this process: 888-398-8214. The following email address has also been provided to communicate about this: email@example.com You will notice that, in the recorded message, the government does NOT back down in their assertion that Golden Panda and ASD were illegal ponzi schemes, but that is obviously not stopping them from returning members’ funds.
Some of you will notice that this form is the one that many of you did not feel inspired to fill out when it was first presented to us. It really puts members in an uncomfortable position of stating that they were victims of ASD/Golden Panda when they don’t believe they were and many felt as if they were also being set up to incriminate themselves.
At the time, I was advised to suggest to you that, if you felt drawn to fill it out, you include an addendum that stated that you understood that you were purchasing advertising, not making an investment. That continues to be the advice. Now that people are actually receiving their money back, perhaps some of you may feel more motivated to risk filling out the form. Just be careful not to incriminate yourselves. Be alert as you do it. Do not leave any question unanswered or it will be rejected. You must also provide documentation so hopefully you kept good records.
You will notice on that website (upper left corner) that it says that you must fill it out and submit it by a date in January, 2011. The way around this may be to say that you just found out about it (you didn’t get their letter in the mail or an email from them) and therefore you are only responding to it now. You might want to make that clear to the Customer Service agent at the number above BEFORE you take the time to fill it out, to confirm that they are still accepting them. If not, take a stand for your right to your monetary remission and ask for a supervisor. I am hearing that they are swamped trying to keep up with the communications they are receiving from members, so please be patient.