BOLO Clarence Busby? Reader Puzzled By RICO Defendant’s Absence; Says Busby Out Of Touch For ‘Months’

Should the government and litigants be on the lookout for Clarence Busby? He hasn’t been charged with a crime and, in September, he surrendered his claims to money seized by the U.S. Secret Service as part of its probe into the alleged criminal business practices of his company, Golden Panda Ad Builder of Acworth, Ga.

Prosecutors said the money was part of the proceeds of a wire-fraud, money-laundering and $100 million Ponzi scheme in which Busby and Golden Panda participated with AdSurfDaily Inc. of Quincy, Fla.

Busby identified himself as a minister. But he also is in the real-estate business, and last night a reader contacted us to say he has been unable to reach Busby.

“We are buying a house from him and can’t seem to get in contact with him,” the reader said. “The last we heard, he was overseas starting up an internet company. We are a little concerned.”

The reader added that he has been unable to contact Busby “for the past couple of months.”

Here’s what we know about Busby: He played it cool as a cucumber when federal prosecutors announced the seizure of tens of millions of dollars last summer. Busby announced to Golden Panda members that his faith would get him through the dark hours. He composed a series of cloying Blog posts, assuring everyone that things would be just fine.

Clarence Busby lays on the syrup, to be sure. In court filings, he explained how he’d gone fishing with ASD President Andy Bowdoin.

“As a social courtesy to Bowdoin, I asked a pastor friend of mine, Rev. Charles Green, if he might bring his boat and join me in inviting Bowdoin on a relaxing fishing trip,” Busby told U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer. “I imagined that operating ASD involved a lot of stress, and I had heard Bowdoin liked to fish. I also wanted a respite from work. The invitation was extended and Bowdoin agreed to join us.”

Busby then explained how Golden Panda was born:

“On April 11, 2008, we fished at a lake in Brunswick, Georgia for a day. On that Day Bowdoin surprised me by recommending that I start a Chinese version of ASD,” Busby said.  “Bowdoin suggested that I organize the business without him. He said, ‘I can’t handle the business I already have,’ stating that I should be the one to create, own, and operate this Chinese version of ASD.

“I was interested in the idea, but did not have knowledge of computers and the web, so I thought Bowdoin should run it, but Bowdoin did not want to run it,” Busby continued. “I chose the name of Golden Panda Ad Builder Inc. and I had the company incorporated on May 15, 2008. At that time, I still thought that Bowdoin would end up running the business, so I placed his name as President of the company, although Bowdoin never actually took any step to run the company.

“Two and one half weeks before Golden Panda commenced operations on July 24, 2008, Bowdoin called me and reiterated that he did not have time for Golden Panda, had done nothing to help create it, and therefore thought I should be the one to own, operate, and control the business.

“I then decided that with the help of my kids that I really could run a web based advertising business on my own. On July 2, 2008, I amended the Golden Panda papers with the state, naming myself as the President and removing Bowdoin’s name.”

In his court filings, Busby said he didn’t know Bowdoin “had prior run ins with the law” and had been arrested in Alabama for defrauding investors.

Busby did not say if he told his fishing partner about his own run-ins with the law: The Securities and Exchange Commission said Busby defrauded investors in the 1990s.

“[T]he Commission alleged that Busby violated the antifraud provisions of the securities laws by offering and selling investment contracts in connection with three different prime bank schemes,” the SEC said.

“Using misrepresentations and omissions in each of the three schemes, Busby raised money for purported trading programs in ‘prime bank’ notes by fraudulently representing to investors that the investments were risk-free and that the ventures would pay returns ranging from 750% to 10,000%. In total, Busby raised nearly $1 million from more than 70 investors. None of the investors earned the exorbitant returns promised by Busby,” the SEC said.

Busby settled the case with the SEC in May 1998 by agreeing not to break securities laws. The SEC waived a $15,000 penalty and accrued interest because Busby certified he was broke.

Almost 10 years to the month later, Busby went fishing with Andy Bowdoin. Both men now have been accused of racketeering in a class-action lawsuit brought by members of AdSurfDaily.

About the Author

10 Responses to “BOLO Clarence Busby? Reader Puzzled By RICO Defendant’s Absence; Says Busby Out Of Touch For ‘Months’”

  1. Patrick: I found the answer in your article itself: “Busby settled the case with the SEC in May 2008 by agreeing not to break securities laws.” Isn’t this timing exquisite? I bet Busby was a mole for the DOJ, and that he’s been working undercover the entire time, serving as a confidential informant.

    According to the Busby affidavit, he heard about ASD from a friend, but would never buy “advertising packages” from any company until he met the owner. That’s nonsense, of course, but he had to have a reason to insist on meeting Andy. In November of 2007, Busby had a funeral to attend in south Georgia and happened to recall that Bowdoin lived “in the same area.” It was supposed to be a funeral of a relative of his wife, but no one combines a funeral with business, especially if it’s his wife’s relative. She wouldn’t have stood for it; it would be very disrespectful to the family of the recently departed — her family. So obviously the “funeral in the area” yarn is just a ruse to lure Andy across state lines to commit a crime. And who believes Andy agreed to drive 45 miles up the road to meet a total stranger at a restaurant, to discuss the stranger’s possible interest in buying “ad packages?” Busby must made it clear that a lot of money was on the table (it would be the DOJ’s money, of course).

    For some reason – we’re never told why — following the “funeral meeting” Busby felt he owed Andy a “social courtesy.” Busby wants affidavit readers to think that his idea of paying a social courtesy is to invite a virtual stranger to go fishing. So in April of 2008, 5 months after the funeral meeting, we find Busby asking a pastor friend with a boat (probably also working undercover) to take him and Andy on a fishing trip. Fishing with Andy in the middle of a lake, away from prying ears, Busby writes that he was shocked, simply shocked when Andy asked him, out of the blue, to open an Asian version of ASD.

    Busby had no Internet experience but nevertheless he did open Golden Panda in May of 2008 (intervening details are omitted). In July of 2008, according to an agent who listened in on a Busby/Golden Panda call as part of the ASD investigation, Busby reported to new and potential GP “ad pack buyers” that he and Andy were 50/50 partners and that Andy had promoted GP at the Chicago rally. Shortly after the partnership announcement, Andy “gave up” his interests in GP.

    Something’s not adding up here. See why I said Busby might have been a mole all along? In April of 2008, Busby invites Andy to go fishing. It’s been 5 months since they met in Georgia, so the timing is all wrong. Social courtesies must be promptly repaid. But Andy accepted. Why? To catch fish? Or because Busby promised an indirect cash infusion. In the Busby-as-mole scenario, Busby asks Andy to help him set up a similar scam and get it off the ground, in return for a boat-load of cash. Andy gives Busby all ASD operational details, showing him how to set up an ASD-style scam. Busby is the DOJ’s secret weapon, in case Andy claims that his mistakes were technical but not criminal. AND, in return for Busby’s successful April 2008 fishing trip, which netted the DOJ all the evidence it needs to send Andy to prison, in May 2008 the SEC gives Busby a slap on the wrist.

    Busby must be under wraps in a “safe house” somewhere, awaiting a federal criminal grand jury decision to indict Andy. Or maybe I watch too many old film noir movies. If he’s not a DOJ mole, its probably something dull — like he’s moved his next scam off shore. (For any ASD loyalist reading this, it’s entirely tongue in cheek.)

      (Quote)

  2. Hi Marci,

    My apologies. The “May 2008” reference should have read “May 1998.” I have corrected it in the post.

    Marci: According to the Busby affidavit, he heard about ASD from a friend, but would never buy “advertising packages” from any company until he met the owner. That’s nonsense, of course,

    I had the feeling of “nonsense” in this part of the affidavit, too. Parts of it were so syruppy and so singsongy that it strained credulity. Busby’s challenge here was to explain to the court just how two guys with previous securities beefs just happened to meet each other and became players in yet another securities case. He needed to overcome the “birds of a feather” argument by creating plausible deniability, but his story is just plain strange.

    Marci: And who believes Andy agreed to drive 45 miles up the road to meet a total stranger at a restaurant, to discuss the stranger’s possible interest in buying “ad packages.” Busby made it clear that a lot of money was on the table.

    I find this hard to believe, too.

    Marci: Fishing with Andy in the middle of a lake, away from prying ears, Busby writes that he was shocked, simply shocked when Andy asked him, out of the blue, to open an Asian version of ASD.

    Right out of “Casablanca.” Where’s Captain Renault when you need him?

    Seriously, though, this is what I mean about the story straining credulity. Busby was shocked? He was so shocked that everything fell into place quickly after the fishing trip. And everything was going along fine right up until two weeks before the GP launch, when Andy was starting to feel some heat. This was in July, right during the time Andy was hiring lawyers and threatening to sue people. My theory is that Andy found out about Busby’s securities beef and needed to create distance because not doing so could trigger people to start looking into his own securities background.

    My feeling is that Busby wasn’t a mole or a plant — just a guy who knew he could get several million dollars quickly with a push from ASD.

    Golden Panda raced to 19,000 members in only a short time. That meant lots of cash, so Busby read it the right way, if my theory is correct.

    If you read his court filings closely, they read like a man wanting to make a deal with the government. We wrote about this last fall, and the faithful went crazy. A short time later Busby gave up his claims. It wasn’t a tough read — or at least it didn’t seem to be. He’d made a previous deal with the SEC, so he knows what deals are all about.

    Whether he actually got a deal is unknown. So, I’ll concede there’s a chance he’s a post-deal mole. I wouldn’t give it a big chance, but I’d say there is *a* chance.

    If Busby is missing right now, it could be for more than one reason.

    Patrick

      (Quote)

  3. Daughter Dawn Stowers worked for Andy Bowdoin – and according to her father’s statement that was long before Daddy even met Uncle Andy. Something doesnt quite work with this arguement either.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave….

      (Quote)

  4. Patrick,

    I like my version a lot better! What a shame to waste such a good conspiracy theory just because of a typo. Who cares if it was l998 or 2008 — my version doesn’t work unless it’s 2008 so I am going to take a page out of the ASD playbook and ignore inconvenitent facts.

    Seriously, though, my “tale” was tongue in cheek (I added that at the end but accidently duplicated the entire post – can’t you delete the first one?). But nothing about the Busby affadavit made any sense whatsoever, unless he was permitted by the feds to leave out huge chunks of information and still have the document count as a legal recounting of the “facts” so that he could be dropped from the suit. Felons attracting felons is so pedestrian, but since its the simplest explanation that covers all known facts, I’m sure its true. Felons falling out with other felons is just as common. But dull, very dull. Not that Quincy, Florida was ever a good place for a Rick’s Cafe. And Faye is no Ingrid Bergman!

      (Quote)

  5. Marci,

    Marci: I am going to take a page out of the ASD playbook and ignore inconvenitent facts.

    LOL.

    Marci: Seriously, though, my “tale” was tongue in cheek (I added that at the end but accidently duplicated the entire post – can’t you delete the first one?).

    Deleted. The post actually came across quadrupled. Not sure what caused that, but it has happened before.

    Marci: pedestrian

    Great word. :-)

    Patrick

      (Quote)

  6. Hi alasycia,

    alasycia: Daughter Dawn Stowers worked for Andy Bowdoin

    It would be interesting to know precisely when Dawn first became associated with ASD. If it’s before November 2007, Busby’s story doesn’t add up.

    Patrick

      (Quote)

  7. Well I understand that Andy Bowdoins Father and Clarence Busby’s Father . were friends – so who knows

      (Quote)

  8. Is there a photo of Clarence Busby available anywhere? I may have a story to tell, if he is the person I think he is.

      (Quote)

  9. Hello Atlanta Guy,

    I haven’t seen a photo of Busby, but I have heard audio recordings. Shortly after the August seizure, Busby held an Andy Bowdoin-style “conference call” in which he spoke of the joys of attending a weekend church/religious event in the aftermath of the action by the Secret Service.

    It’s possible that a reader will have a copy of that recording,which at one time was at this URL but has been removed:

    http://www.byoaudio.com/play/WYRbN9GQ

    Patrick

      (Quote)

  10. We had a run-in with this crook back in 1993, He was our Pastor in Marietta, Ga. He heard that we had 80 acres of Red Oak Timber land in coal rich West Virginia. He went to W.Va. and came back with a plan to get investors to invest $150,000. to harvest the timbers and have a coal assessment done. Since my Elderly Aunt was the legal property owner he went to talk to her personally and cut a deal with her, by-passing me and my four sisters. When I found out what he was trying to do I put an end to his plan, we were them immediately austersized from the Church and was made out as someone trying to con Him and the investors. note( the W.Va. property is still as it was in 93 and we are happy with it) The Most Reverend Clarence Busby is a CROOK !

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply