BREAKING NEWS: AVG Loses Banking Privileges

UPDATED 5:09 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) AdViewGlobal (AVG), a surf site with close ties to AdSurfDaily, reportedly has lost its banking privileges.

The event occurred as AVG was running a 200-percent, matching-bonus program. The news is not posted on AVG’s main webpage. It is posted on a forum some of the Mods and members of the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum set up to promote AVG.

AVG’s early explanation was that its bank account had been “suspended.” The development may signal that the bank, whose name was not disclosed, suspects it is being used to launder money or for another criminal purpose.

It also may signal that AVG, which purported to be operating offshore, actually is operating from inside the United States. Promoters had been flogging the AVG 200 percent bonus program for days when news about the account suspension was announced.

Matching-bonus programs can result in huge cash infusions for autosurfs — but also create enormous downstream liabilities.

In a news release on Aug. 18, 2008, the U.S. Secret Service cited bank cooperation with law enforcement as one of the elements that made the seizure of tens of millions of dollars from ASD possible.

“Cooperation among investigators, including the private sector partners who brought this case to our attention, allows us to combine not only our resources, but also our expertise in order to more effectively address evolving criminal methods, such as these online schemes,” said Michael Merritt, assistant director of investigations.

Federal prosecutors said the ASD seizure prevented a Ponzi scheme from mushrooming.

Banks outside of the United States also have ramped up efforts to detect money-laundering in the wake of the Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme in Antigua. The scheme had a ripple effect on banking from Antigua in the Caribbean to Central America and South America.

Here is the AVG announcement (italics added). Notably, the message was not signed by an individual executive of AVG. Rather, it was signed “The AVG Management Team.”

Due to people bank wiring too many transactions over $9500.00 each, the bank we were using for Bank Wires and ACHs suspended our account. We will get this resolved as soon as possible but in the meantime we will have to postpone bank wires and ACHs until we secure a bank that will accept them without a problem. Until we find the right bank, sales and cash outs must be done through Strict Pay and Solid Trust Pay. We will soon be able to pay cash outs on our debit card.

If you have requested a cash out through a bank wire or an ACH, the transaction will be voided and your funds will be returned to eWallet. You can then request your cash out through Solid Trust or Strict Pay.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but we were eliminating all wire transfers and ACHs with the new site because of the U.S. banking system and their resistance to a lot of large bank wires. We want to abide by all banking laws and keep AVG a safe place for people to advertise.

The AVG Management Team

George Harris, the stepson of ASD President Andy Bowdoin, is listed as an AVG trustee. Gary Talbert, a former ASD executive who filed sworn documents in the ASD civil-forfeiture case, at one time served as AVG’s chief executive officer. Only days ago, Talbert relinquished his AVG title and was said to be working as a U.S.-based accountant for the firm, an AVG promoter told downline members last week.

The precise date AVG lost its banking privileges was not immediately clear. Ismeal Santiago is AVG’s new chief executive officer and will move to Uruguay because “all officers should live offshore,” according to the promoter.

Nate Boyd, a former compliance officer at ASD, was listed as “Protector” of the AVG association. Chuck Osmin, a former ASD employee who testified on ASD’s behalf at a Sept. 30-Oct. evidentiary hearing, later identified himself as an AVG employee.

In November, after a federal judge ruled that ASD had not demonstrated at the hearing that it was a legal business and not a Ponzi scheme, ASD gave its official endorsement to the Surf’s Up site. In December, early promotions for AVG began to appear online, and some of the Surf’s Up Mods and members ultimately created a forum to support AVG.

About the Author

34 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: AVG Loses Banking Privileges”

  1. Due to people bank wiring too many transactions over $9500.00 each, the bank we were using for Bank Wires and ACHs suspended our account.

    Do they say if that’s money wires going into the account(s) or going out of the account(s)? Guess what my vote would be.

  2. It’s funny how htey seem to be having problems with “too many large bank wires” I would think that a LEGITIMATE company wouldn’t have any problems at all.

    UPDATE: my curiosity got to me so much I called a person I know in my company (Ford Motor Company, we bank with Comerica Bank) and asked how many bank wires we can process over $9500 in a given time. He didn’t understand the question, because it’s not an issue, after some explaining he looked, and a few thousand transactions a DAY are not unusual.
    It’s also funny that the amount, $9500, is just below what banks have to by law report to the Treasury Dept under money laundering rules.

    Just a heads up investers, umm, advertisors, if the bank suspends the account, you can bet (well, you alresady have I guess) that they also reported the accounts to the Treasury Dept. You’re about to get another lesson in how offshore is offshore enough.

  3. It makes no difference.

    U.S. regulations require banks doing business to report certain transactions. In certain instances, $10,000 is the threshold where banks are required to report transactions to CINFEN. Banks are also required to “know their customer” and report any suspicious pattern of transactions, regardless of amount. Apparently, a large number of transactions below the threshold triggered an alarm somewhere. Just my opinion.

  4. Our family ran a business for over 30 years in which we wired or otherwise forwarded funds overseas in various amounts from $20.00 to hundreds of thousands. We never had a problems with our banks or regulators. I was in finance for years, it would have landed our my desk.

  5. Oh yes, I’m sure Ford is not held to the same standard as a two bit ponzi scheme. But still, they went to the treasury long before they told the customer. And now everyone who sent them a wire transfer or ACH payment is on a list in some investigation, congratulations!

  6. dirty_bird: It makes no difference.

    I think it does, sort of. I find it hard to believe that the punters of AVG, having been burnt by ASD, would risk close to $10K in this obvious ponzi. And I doubt that enough would be sending exactly just below the fraud reporting limit to trigger an account closure.

    Therefore it is more likely that it was money going out that caused the closure of the account. i.e. the scammers caused this problem themselves, and are trying to extract as much cash as possible.

    Of course this is also another well known scammer excuse, trouble with the bank.

  7. Tony:

    If it was from money going out, then how could this be? They have not been in business long enough to generate that kind of money to be paid out of the rotator. It has to be from money coming in. For them to be able to pay out that much money so soon, it is proof positive this is a scam.

  8. Lynn, I was referring to money going out to the scammers themselves or their insiders (family & friends), not as “payments” for “advertising”. Bowdoin paid for cars & toys from ASD accounts.

  9. From Terrallynn’s AVGA forum:

    “Hello Robbie, there is not a snafu, I am not certain if you read my previous post where I stated that the problem was that SOME MEMBERS DID NOT FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS when they funded their accounts and sent too much money in one setting. I had to double check to verify what I already know in light of your comment, and I was correct…..The other payment processors have a Daily MAXIMUM Transaction amount as well, not just EWP. As a matter of fact EWP has a far higher daily amount limit then the other ones, $50K per day, however, they clearly stated in the back office (big red letters and numbers, I do not know what else they could have done to make it any more clear) that you were not able to send all funds in one transaction and some members must have misunderstood this and did it anyway.”

    The problem is that eWalletPlus failed to anticipate the financial illiteracy of soon to be ponzi victims. If they had more clearly explained that transactions of ten grand and above were reported to agencies that might investigate for illegal activities they might have avoided this mess. But then they might need to admit why anyone should be worried about such a thing in the first place. Oh the catch-22’s of running a scam.

  10. These comments may come back to bite and haunt her, even if she was just joking at the time. Incredible.

  11. does any body know how long EWP been in business?

  12. What I find most interesting at this point is AVG’s use of the word “suspended” to describe its bank account.

    What does suspended mean? Does suspended mean access to proceeds has been blocked and the account still has a considerable balance?

    Were large sums wired out of the account just prior to the “suspension?”

    Is AVG using “suspended” because it sounds better than “seized?”

    The first reference to this “suspension” appears to have been made yesterday, Monday, March 23.

    March 20 was a Friday. It also happened to be the day that AVG people began to spread the news that Gary Talbert was stepping down as CEO.

    So, we have an announcement of the CEO stepping down on a Friday — and a bank “suspension” announced on a Monday.

    Did something other than Talbert’s resignation occur Friday — an account seizure, for instance? And were members deliberately kept in the dark until Monday?

    It’s an important question.

    AVG members need to know precisely when the company found out about the “suspension” and precisely who delivered the news of the “suspension” to management.

    Read the announcement closely. Here are the first several words:

    “Due to people bank wiring too many transactions over $9500.00 each, the bank we were using for Bank Wires and ACHs suspended our account.”

    Notice the vagueness of the words. The bank’s name was not mentioned.

    Also, notice that the words suggest management is blaming this event on members. Law enforcement very easily could construe these words as consciousness of guilt in a universe predisposed to deflect all accountability.

    If this was a seizure of AVG’s account on a Friday, you pretty much can expect management is scurrying for cover — not that a Monday seizure is any better.

    CEO resignation announcement on a Friday? Bank account “suspended” announcement on a Monday? That’s a lot of coincidences to digest.

    It is indeed possible that the “suspension” occurred Monday and the two events are not related. But placing the blame on members in the first several lines of the “suspension” announcement is telling.

    The first thing it tells is that AVG, like ASD, doesn’t have a clue about PR. The second thing it tells is that “management” doesn’t want to accept accountability.


  13. A reader reports AVG sent this email on March 19:

    Update: eWalletPlus Status

    Business as usual at EwalletPlus

    EwalletPlus will continue to be the payment processor for AVGA until we notify our members of a change. We will give everyone advance notice of the transition dates. Please continue to use EwalletPlus until we notify everyone of the cut off date.

    As of today, March 19, 2009 cash-out requests from March 10 & 11 are being processed.

    As you know, the EWalletPlus staff is limited and the eWalletPlus support team has been over whelmed with the huge response from the 200% promotion.

    The response is contributing to the delay and we ask that you anticipate a minimum of 5 to 7 business days for cash-outs to be completed.

    Additional staff is being hired and trained to efficiently process your transactions in a timely manor. We ask that you please be patient while we process these pending transactions.

    As of next week EwalletPlus will be fully staffed and will continue to work around the clock to insure these delays do not occur in the future.

    The scheduled transition from EwalletPlus over to Solid Trust Pay and Strict Pay will NOT take place until the New AVGA Website goes into effect in mid April.
    EwalletPlus will then be redesigned and thoroughly tested before we integrate it back into the AVGA platform.

    At the time of the transition all pending transactions will be processed and completed through EwalletPlus. Rest assured that any and all member transactions will be processed and completed before EwalletPlus goes off line.

    Please take the following steps now to help the staff insure a smooth transition:

    Everyone needs to set up a StrictPay account or a SolidTrust Pay Account or both.

    When you use the links on the AVGLOBAL ASSOCIATION website for either or both of these payment processors AVGA will earn referral commissions. Fifty percent of the earnings will be used in the VIP program.

    The links to STP and StrictPay can be found in your back office. Click on “Member Info” and then click on “Payment Processors”. When you click on the Strict Pay or Solid Trust Pay Icon links, you will be automatically directed to the respective payment processors to create your new account.

    Please know that each payment processor will require new accounts to follow similar verification processes.
    (drivers license, voided check & signed authorization form).

    Thank you for your understanding as we work through toward a smooth transition.

    AVGA Management

    Please contact one of the following numbers for additional customer support:

    Customer Support – 786-752-4143

    Any Member who has a pending transaction prior to March 4, 2009 is instructed to send a detailed email to: [email protected]

    Include the following information in the email:
    Full Name:
    Phone number:
    EwalletPlus account number:
    Date & Time of the Transaction:
    Amount of the Transaction:
    AVGA ID #:

  14. ” Reply by Terralynn~ModSquad 49 minutes ago
    Send Message
    All of the money pending in EWP will be processed and sent into your EWP accounts. You may then purchase page impressions. The only thing that has really changed is that the company is not going to accept wires or ACH’s via ewalletPlus any longer. That’s it.

    The banks are fine and all of this has been properly handled. Every transaction is going to be properly credited and approved.

    This all came about because some members were trying to send ACH & wires over the limit.

    The company is doing everything it can to keep us informed – One thing to keep in mind everyone is that this is a big company and the people behind the scenes are very capable.

    We all need to have a bit of patience and know that the upper-level management team is paying attenion to every detail.

    All accounts will be properly credited & posted with in the next couple of days.”

    Hmmm, if you send an ACH to an account and before that transaction clears that account gets “suspended” does the ACH reroute or does the money revert to the account it was sent from? Something isn’t exactly adding up here.

    The next few days will be interesting.

  15. Patrick:

    Your comments are right on, and it reminded me of the tack Premium Ads Club took when it shut down by blaming the members, when claiming they weren’t blaming the members rhetoric.

    What truly amazes me is how none of these organizations have any public relation skills at all. It demonstrates they are only interested in the money, and that is all. They seem to feel they can say anything and they have a gullible membership that will just accept whatever story they decide to put out there for public consumption. While they may have gullible members, they must know others are not so gullible and will seize on their comments. Yet they still do it anyway. Guess they really didn’t learn anything from ASD like they claimed.

    It now raises the question if the new CEO is actually on his way to live in Uruguay? They just don’t get it that their answers to maybe a simple question only raises more questions rather than resolving the question. It is going to be an interesting remainder of the week to see how this all plays out.

  16. Does anyone know which bank they used? it appears from their comments about the US banking system to have been a US bank.

    In any event, the “suspension” has been pretty quick. ASD ran for nearly two years before they had troubles with any bank.

  17. Mark kreiling: does any body know how long EWP been in business?

    In the beginning when I was getting frequent emails about joining AVG it was said that the owners of AVG were purchasing EWP,in order to place it offshore, and therefor it would be primary the source of funds exchange for AVG. At that time it’s base was in the US. If that was what occured then it is owned by the AVG people and has not been in business very long in it’s present location. I do not know if all that occured but I do know they use EWP based on various emails I have received about their promotions. Thank God I did not allow myself to be burned twice!!!

    Is the last comment from GlimDropper in the above post, his cooment or is it Terrallynn’s? (the one about the Ponzi)

  18. Sorry Mark, everything after the last quote mark starting with Hmm was me.

    EWP was located out of Arizona last I looked, did they ever change the address?

  19. snailspace, that is why I ask the question. I thought EWP was a part of AVG. It must have been from the same e-mails I got in the beginning to jion AVG thanks Mark

  20. (Ahem, I meant snailspace, not Mark. sorry)

    The eWallet site is hosted out of Panama but the corporate contact info is still in Az. I guess the better question is if you send them money, where do you send it to.

    TMS Corp were the old owners of EWP, I forget who owned them but I do believe AVG bought them outright. (How much money did Andy have in Antigua?)The new contact info for EWP lists TMS Association as the owners, Karl Dahlstrom strikes again. So if the problems with EWP are anything but a trivial paperwork issue this could be collateral damage for AVG. And let’s not forget that the “outside” income from EWP was part of what made sure AVG wasn’t a ponzi.

  21. A reader shares this:

    Home Breaking News 200% Matching Bonus Extended
    200% Matching Bonus Extended
    The 200% Match has been extended through Friday April 3, 2009.

    This will allow everyone time to get their SolidTrust Pay & Strict
    Pay accounts setup & verified. We encourage everyone to be proactive
    and do this today.

    The Matching Bonus extension is great news for everyone but please
    be sure that you pass the word to your referrals to go ahead and establish
    the new payment processor accounts asap.

    Our Members will all be very pleased with how fast & efficient the
    cash-out process will be once these new processors are linked into
    your back office.

    Thanks so much,
    AVGA Management

  22. And now AdGateWorld, another one of the so-called clones, has announced this Bonus:

    Limited Time Bonus!
    Our March Madness celebration continues with our first LIMITED TIME bonus promotion.

    Effective immediately our current VIP 3000 minimum Ad Pack bonus of 50% (sponsor match of 50%) is being taken out of the game!

    It is being replaced with the following bonus:

    3000 Minimum Ad Pack Purchase will now give 100% bonus AND 100% matching bonus for the sponsor! This Special one week promotion will end promptly at midnight on Monday March 30.

    The current 500 Minimum Ad Pack bonus of 25% with a 25% sponsor matching bonus will remain in effect until further notice.

    Take advantage of this limited time promotion to introduce new community members to best business opportunity on the planet!

  23. o.k. I’ll bite… if EWP was owned by AVG. why would EWP supend AVG?

  24. Mark kreiling: o.k. I’ll bite… if EWP was owned byAVG.why would EWPsupendAVG?

    EWP was(is) a payment possessor, not a bank. The bank they transacted through apparently suspended them from using ACH transfers (and perhaps more). Therefore AVG is switching to other payment possessors for at least part of their transactions. This might be a trivial situation and all they are losing is the transaction charges they could have been earning off AVG members or it could be a very real sign of trouble. Andy had a bank stop doing buisness with him in early July (as per the forfeiture complaint) and was raided inside a month. Either way it isn’t a positive development.

  25. Hi GlimDropper,

    GlimDropper: Therefore AVG is switching to other payment possessors for at least part of their transactions.


    And while simultaneously hyping a 200 percent, matching-bonus program — an electronic rally, as opposed to renting space for a physical gathering.

    The bonus program may betray greed or a desperate play for cash or both.

    All the clones have implemented outrageous bonus programs. When ASD did it, people mortgaged homes, eviscerated credit lines, threw in college money — and the house came a tumblin’ down.

    These bonus programs could indicate the surfs are starved for cash flow. If people responded by flooding the wires with a suspicious number of $9,500 transactions, it’s not surprising it caught a bank’s attention.

    Not in the post-ASD era — or, in the Caribbean and even Canada, in the post-Stanford era.

    As Lynn mentioned, the next several days could be telling.



  26. One thing I have noticed while watching these scams transform….they all seem to play ‘payment processor roulette’. Didn’t ASD pull this ‘suddenly change the processor’ game also?

  27. Hi Whip,

    Whip: Didn’t ASD pull this ’suddenly change the processor’ game also?

    Yes, according to prosecutors.

    ASD once used e-Gold. When e-Gold made headlines after it was accused of facilitating money-laundering, ASD switched processors.

    There also is evidence that ASD used CEP Trust, the payment processor run by the operators of the CEP Ponzi scheme.

    ASD also used Alert Pay. And ASD was moving money into Canada through Solid Trust Pay just prior to the August seizure.

    There have been at least four major surf failures since November. They all claimed to be offshore, and companies such as AlertPay, SolidTrustPay and StrictPay were the processors.

    PAC and Aggero Investment both failed shortly after the Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme in Antigua was revealed. The precise cause of the surf failures is unclear.


  28. I should have added above that some members of the ASD prosecution team were instrumental in the criminal conviction of e-Gold.


  29. This is regarding the post about 10k being a seemingly large inbound figure. I can confirm that first time pawns are being asked for this amount. I became aware of this through a family member who was concerned about a relative that had been sucked in. They mentioned that they had invested approx $10k and had just signed the paperwork. I have copies of these blank forms and what is interesting is the “Upline Founder”, the infamous Mindy Bales.

    Mindy Bales
    3215 SE 72nd Street
    Ankeny, IA 50021
    515-262-8112 (fax)

    Thank you for this site, the information has been invaluable. Best of luck to all.

  30. As is usual in these HYIP ponzi cases, a “little bit of truth” can be used by the scammers to spin a story any way they want.

    The relevant “Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (or BSA, or otherwise known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act” has provision for many variations of the scammers art.

    i.e. Treasury Department Form 90-22.47 and OCC Form 8010-9, 8010-1 Suspicious Activity Report (SAR): Banks must file a SAR for ANY suspicious transaction relevant to a possible violation of law or regulation. (31 CFR 103.18 − formerly 31 CFR 103.21) (12 CFR 12.11)
    Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)

    Any cash transaction where the customer seems to be trying to avoid BSA reporting requirements (e.g., CTR, MIL). A SAR must also be filed if the customer’s actions indicate that s/he is laundering money or otherwise violating federal criminal law. The customer must not know that a SAR is being filed. These reports are filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”).
    and, just in case the scammers ARE based overseas:

    FinCEN Form 104 Currency Transaction Report (CTR): A CTR must be filed for each deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency, or other payment or transfer, by, through or to a financial institution, which involves a transaction in currency of more than $10,000. Multiple currency transactions must be treated as a single transaction if the financial institution has knowledge that: (a) they are conducted by or on behalf of the same person; and, (b) they result in cash received or disbursed by the financial institution of more than $10,000. (31 CFR 103.22)

    or, how about:

    Department of the Treasury Form 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR): Each person (including a bank) subject to the jurisdiction of the United States having an interest in, signature or other authority over, one or more bank, securities, or other financial accounts in a foreign country must file an FBAR if the aggregate value of such accounts at any point in a calendar year exceeds $5,000. (31 CFR 103.24)

  31. Just so you all know… Google is the biggest ponzi scheme! And they don’t even share their revenue with their costumers. At least avga does! And because your your selfishness, we the people find it hard to be selfless. The government has made our society demoralized and scared. Don’t even get me started on the health care and childcare in north America.

    Because Ad View Global is an association we as members have benefits.
    Just some of the benefits of a private association member are:

    • You may operate an advertising and marketing association without the interference of
    federal and state government and agencies.

    • You maintain greater privacy of financial and business affairs of your advertising and marketing association activities.

    • You are afforded greater security of being able to continue operation in a world of changing laws and politics.

    • You may increase profits due to unrestricted and beneficial structuring and strategies not
    available to publicly regulated advertising and marketing organizations.

    If you would like to join or just check it out for free, I invite you to join here

    feel free to email me at [email protected]

  32. […] March 23, AVG announced that its bank account had been suspended because too many customers had wired transactions in excess of $9,500. The communication was signed […]

  33. […] additional background, see this story from March about apparent cash-flow problems that had developed at AVG, only weeks after its formal launch in […]

  34. […] 2009, AVG announced that Talbert had resigned as AVG’s chief. It also announced that its bank account had been suspended, blaming the development on […]