ASD: A Thimble, A Pinhead And A Quark Before Nothingness

Andy Bowdoin.

Andy Bowdoin.

UPDATED 10:21 A.M. EST (U.S.A.) Tomorrow will mark an important anniversary in the AdSurfDaily Ponzi case: the passage of two full months since prosecutors filed a second forfeiture complaint against assets tied to the firm.

Neither ASD President Andy Bowdoin nor members of his family from whom property was seized has filed a claim. No attorney has entered an appearance notice. The lack of action is in stark contrast to what happened in August after the first seizure of ASD assets.

Amid much fanfare — and amid a strangely jubilant atmosphere fueled by people who refused to disengage from their trances — Bowdoin moved quickly in August to stake a claim to tens of millions of dollars and other assets seized. Some Bowdoin zealots predicted a slam-dunk win for ASD, especially after it advised the court that it would be willing to operate under monitoring and supervision if some of the Great Man’s money was returned.

What the ASD supporters didn’t see — what some of them refused to see — was that the money was seized as the assets of a criminal enterprise that had money on deposit in at least three countries and had been taking steps to get more and more money outside the United States. One of the countries — Antigua — is now front-and-center in a massive case of international financial fraud involving R. Allen Stanford and his companies.

It will be well worth your time to click on the link above. Read the story, and read the entire SEC complaint from a link at the bottom of the story. Some of the allegations — the tortured explanations by Stanford and his companies — will remind you of elements of the ASD case.

Also note that the money ASD had on deposit in Antigua was not in ASD’s name. Bowdoin, however, had control of the money and could have converted it to his own use at any moment in time. The amount was at least $1 million, according to court filings.

Andy Bowdoin was at the helm of the ASD enterprise and, by implication in the forfeiture complaint, was a criminal. He took the 5th prior to the evidentiary hearing because he knew of the possible criminal repercussions of testifying. The ASD monitoring plan was a bid to short-circuit a possible criminal prosecution by getting the government to agree that only highly technical violations of the law had occurred. In other words, a possible $100 million Ponzi fraud using the financial systems of at least three countries was no big deal.

Prosecutors never were going to accept a Bowdoin-provided remedy, especially one that attempted to sanitize criminality by treating wire fraud, money-laundering and a Ponzi scheme as minor offenses. An acceptance of such a deal would have sent a clear signal that the worst that could happen to a probable autosurf Ponzi scheme operator was court-supervised monitoring of the scheme — as it re-started with returned funds and attempted not to engage in wire fraud, money-laundering and the sale of unregistered securities.

Such an outcome would have marked a chilly day for U.S. jurisprudence, the day America’s courts provided wink-nod cover for probable Ponzi-pushing felons — and even handed them back money and turned a blind eye to abuses that occurred before the good guys arrived.

Investigators went on to discover that Bowdoin told insiders that $1 million had been stolen from ASD by “Russian hackers.” He didn’t even file a police report, but he did tell Judge Rosemary Collyer that ASD couldn’t operate and needed her to free up money to pay employees and bills. What Bowdoin didn’t tell the judge up front, as he asked her to release seized funds, was that ASD had more than $1 million on desposit in Antigua, under a name other than its own. And he also didn’t tell the judge about the earlier alleged theft of $1 million by “Russian hackers.”

As a PR ploy, however, the offer to operate under supervision was a masterstroke. It kept members’ hope alive and enabled ASD supporters to paint the prosecutors and even the judge as unreasonable if they couldn’t see the beauty of the monitoring plan.

At ASD’s request, an evidentiary hearing was held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. ASD insisted it was not a Ponzi scheme, called an expert witness to knock down the government’s assertions, and summoned three other witnesses to help make its case. At the conclusion of the hearing, some members of the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum, drunk on fantasy, partied long into the night. They were certain that ASD had won and dismissed all reports that didn’t validate their delusions.

In November, Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that ASD had not demonstrated it was a legal business and not a Ponzi scheme at the evidentiary hearing. She found nothing of merit in the expert’s argument, pointing out holes through which one could drive a convoy of earth-moving machines. Some ASD members instantly claimed the fix was in. Such claims, of course, should be seen for what they are: self-validating drivel.

With a fresh win, prosecutors filed a second forfeiture complaint on Dec. 19. It is the most important document so far, the one that dealt ASD a crushing blow and signaled a nuclear development to come.

Prior to the December complaint, ASD could fit its remaining credibility in a thimble. Now it could fit it on the head of a pin. A quark, believed to be the smallest part of an atom, could accommodate ASD’s credibility at the conclusion of the case — with room to spare.

This case will be marked by a complete absence of ASD credibility, one of the reasons some ASD supporters and Surf’s Up members are furiously trying to change the subject and get people to take their eyes off the ball.

This case has a high probability of reducing the cheerleaders to emotional rubble and undermining the good works of their lives. Goodness exists in all people. A person can be stubborn and completely wrong-headed — and still be a good person. The line gets drawn, however, where wrong-headedness morphs into deliberate attempts to deceive and misinform.

Some Surf’s up members now are promoting AdViewGlobal (AVG), a company that shares a common executive with ASD and a common customer-service employee operating from Florida — even though AVG claims to be registered in Uruguay and running things out of Panama. Yesterday, in the wake of the SEC’s allegations against Stanford, banking customers in Panama and other countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean were lining up to get their money out of local banks.

The ASD case is no more about the abuse of government power than it is the Easter Bunny. ASD is an international racketeering enterprise. If you’re carrying its water, you are a racketeer — and your quark awaits before nothingness finally settles in.

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