Why The Government Is ‘Right’ About AdSurfDaily (And Why The December Forfeiture Complaint May Help Fill In The Missing AdViewGlobal Links)
UPDATED 1:45 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) Language federal prosecutors used in a December forfeiture complaint against assets tied to AdSurfDaily might help explain the emergence of AdViewGlobal (AVG), a surf firm with common management and close ties to ASD.
Meanwhile, court filings by ASD President Andy Bowdoin continue to electrify some ASD members, but Bowdoin’s once-considerable support base is diminishing in size rapidly. Evidence continues to mount that fewer and fewer people are buying what Bowdoin is selling in his various pro se legal pleadings.
We’ve written about this before. Today we’ll do so again because Bowdoin’s filings never add clarity. They add only clutter. Even so, Bowdoin’s few remaining champions at the Pro-ASD Surf’s up forum always can be relied upon to cloud the issues further.
But clutter by Bowdoin and other pro se litigants in the ASD civil-forfeiture case is delaying justice for rank-and-file ASD members. The case involving money and property seized by the government in August nearly was litigated to conclusion in January, when Bowdoin formally submitted to the forfeiture. The government was on the cusp of implementing an orderly process through which ASD’s assets would be liquidated to create a restitution pool.
All of that is on hold now because of Bowdoin’s emergence in February as a pro se litigant.
Points To Ponder
A second forfeiture case filed in December against assets tied to ASD is proceeding on a separate track — one that appears to have been designed by prosecutors as leverage to make ASD members as “whole” as possible. Prosecutors asserted that some of Bowdoin’s family members, including his wife and stepson, had used ASD money to fuel extravagant spending, including the wholesale retirement of a $157,216 mortgage on the home of George Harris, Bowdoin’s stepson.
George Harris is listed as a trustee for AVG. Gary Talbert, a former ASD executive, was chief executive officer of AVG before resigning suddenly last month. The resignation was announced after Bowdoin acknowledged in a pro se pleading that ASD was operating illegally when agents seized tens of millions of dollars in August.
Nearly $30,000 also was used to buy a car for George Harris and his wife, Judy Harris. About $33,000 was used to buy a car for an ASD employee, and Bowdoin himself parked a Lincoln valued at nearly $50,000 in his driveway, prosecutors said.
The purchase of the Lincoln was telling. Bowdoin had an appetite for expensive cars when he was charged in Alabama in the 1990s with 89 separate counts of securities fraud, according to his victims.
Bowdoin never told ASD members about the Alabama fraud charges when he was busy collecting money from them. Nor did he tell his Alabama victims of his newfound ASD wealth. The money used to purchase the Lincoln would have been more than enough for Bowdoin to retire the remaining restitution due Alabama victims from more than a decade ago.
He chose the Lincoln instead.
In the end, though, it’s probably a good thing that Bowdoin chose the Lincoln over his Alabama victims. The government views ASD’s assets as the proceeds of an illegal enterprise. In theory, the government could claw back any ASD money sent to the victims, who’d then hold the unenviable distinction of having been ripped off by Bowdoin twice.
Contemplating that outcome is just plain sad — but there’s more. What’s left could explain the formation of AdViewGlobal and how close Bowdoin associates could be using it to line their pockets while Bowdoin files one pro se pleading after another in the ASD case.
The ASD/AVG Tie
Prosecutors say Bowdoin did not file a police report when more than $1 million went missing from ASD at the purported hands of “Russian” hackers. Nor did Bowdoin file a police report when other money went missing from ASD.
What Bowdoin did, according to prosecutors, was engage attorney Robert Garner to figure new and better ways to steal from ASD members. This led to the production of a video that sanitized the ASD business model. Before long, ASD couldn’t even get all of the cash it was collecting to the bank.
Those Pesky Details
Certain details from the December forfeiture complaint haven’t gotten much play on Blogs and forums. They may prove to be critical, however, because they may explain how AdViewGlobal (AVG) came into being.
Prelaunch promotions for AVG began to appear online during the second week of December. Early promotions suggested ASD members would be able to port their ASD earnings/expenditures to AVG. The government filed the second forfeiture complaint Dec. 19, just as AVG buzz was building.
Included in the December complaint were assertions that ASD had played the rebuilding card before, telling members that a renamed and reconstituted version of ASD would emerge because cash-flow problems had crippled the original enterprise. The renamed version would be called the ASD “Cash Generator.”
Prosecutors very well may have a recording and/or a transcript of an ASD Cash Generator pitch given by Bowdoin because some quotations from the December complaint are attributed directly to Bowdoin and notes from a transcriptionist appear to be contained within a document prosecutors are using. The information sounds very much like the early pitches for AVG, with references to transferring account balances from one entity to the other.
AVG may be nothing more than ASD history repeating itself in a different form, with insiders receiving benefits hidden from rank-and-file members.
Here is what prosecutors said in the December complaint (italics added to emphasize quotations from Bowdoin and bold added to emphasize what appears to be notes from a transcriptionist):
“To avoid regulatory scrutiny when ASD’s first iteration collapsed, Mr. Bowdoin explained that account balances of the prior operation would be transferred to the new operation, allowing the old program’s participants to share in the new revenue stream as new funds came into the new operation.
“In discussing the transferring of such account balances, Mr. Bowdoin explained:
‘You have heard us talk about not overwhelming the system by not transferring all of the ad packages from the old site at one time. If we did that it would never get off the ground. To avoid that from happening, we must transfer the balances in increments.
‘Here is the plan our Accountant suggested. Based on the sales that we now have, transfer over 150,000 ad packages which will be about 5%. Based on $3,000 per day in sales we can pay 1%. 50% of $3,000 is $1,500 which is 1% of the 150,000.
‘We have enough sales now to start at $3,000 per day for the first 5 days and the $1,500 on Sat. And [sic] Sun.
‘As our sales increase in increments of $3,000 per day we will transfer another 150,000 ad purchases.
‘In other words, when sales reach $6,000 per day we will transfer another 150,00 [sic] ad purchases [strike out “ad purchases”], when they reach $9,000 per day we will transfer over [strike out “over”] another 150,000. Then when they start expiring we will transfer more and we will continue this until we get all of the balances transferred.
‘All credits for surfing will be transferred. All pending cash outs will be paid from profits from the new cash generator site and then all cash balances on the old site will also be paid from profits. The time for paying pending cash outs and cash balances will be determined by Sales.’
“Mr. Bowdoin never told later participants with ASD that the funds they paid to ASD were being used to pay returns to participants with AdSurfDaily who failed to receive promised returns because one or more Russians had defrauded AdSurfDaily,” prosecutors said.
In essence, prosecutors are saying that ASD emerged as ASD “Cash Generator” because Andy Bowdoin owed participants a pile of money he couldn’t pay. He solved the problem by porting old obligations to the new company, but never told new members they were paying the freight for the original group of insiders and members who were not in the loop.
Bowdoin avoided getting sued by using this approach. He also avoided trouble from insiders to whom large sums were owed, in effect creating a new generation of victims so his original insiders could get paid.
Some of those insiders now appear to have become players in AVG — ASD history repeating itself in a different form.
The government is right about the ASD case. Its duty is to stop the “rebates aren’t guaranteed” madness before huge criminal combines begin to use it as a license to take money and keep it by hiding behind a disclaimer that gives them a license to steal.
Read the Dec. 19 forfeiture filing.