AVG Forum Warns Members Not To Call Purchases An ‘Investment’; Posts Citing ‘Return’ Or ‘ROI’ Will Be Deleted

UPDATED 5:44 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) A Mod at an AdViewGlobal forum set up by Mods and members of AdSurfDaily has warned AVG members not to refer to their purchases as “investments.”

Rather, the Mod said, AVG members purchase “advertising” and are not “investing” or “investors.”

Posts that used the terminology of investments would be deleted, the Mod warned.

AVG members currently are stressing a so-called “80-20” strategy as a means of keeping the program viable for the long-term.

Analysts, however, point out that the “80-20” plans — taking out 20 percent in cash and letting 80 percent ride with the companies — are just another way to keep cash within ready reach of autosurf Ponzi schemes to sustain the deception.

There is not a single, documented case in the history of autosurf prosecutions in which the use of the word “advertising” to describe what the government views as an “investment” program involving the sale of unregistered securities has succeeded as a means of fending off a prosecution.

In other words, the government has made it plain that you can’t avoid prosecution by using other terminology to describe an investment program.

Regardless, many surf companies continue to insist that the use of the word “advertising” as a replacment for “investing” somehow insulates surfs from prosecution.

Prosecutors cited the wink-nod nature of autosurfs — including bids to avoid the word “investment” — in the August forfeiture complaint against ASD.

The complaint details an instance in which an ASD member insisted to an undercover agent from an IRS/Secret Service task force that bad things could happen if people joined ASD and started calling it an investment.

“The [undercover agent] asked her about investing with ASD,” prosecutors said of the ASD member. “She immediately said, ‘Don’t call it investing, you know what I mean, we can get in trouble if we say that, we have to be careful.'”

Prosecutors also made a veiled reference to “80-20” pitches in the August ASD complaint, again citing an undercover agent’s contact with an ASD member.

“He said the best way to make money in the system is to keep putting your money back into the system as it accumulates,” prosecutors said of the ASD member’s pitch to the undercover agent.

Some of the Mods and members of the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum set up the AVG forum after ASD gave the Surf’s Up forum its official endorsement after a federal judge ruled in November that ASD had not demonstrated it was a legal business and not a Ponzi scheme.

Prelaunch buzz for AVG started shortly thereafter. On December 19, prosecutors filed a second forfeiture complaint against assets tied to ASD. The complaint did not mention AVG by name, but it outlined allegations against George Harris, the stepson of ASD President Andy Bowdoin.

Harris is a trustee for the AVG association. AVG’s former chief executive officer — Gary Talbert — is a former ASD executive. On March 20, AVG announced Talbert’s resignation in an unsigned note to members. On March 23, AVG announced its bank account had been suspended.

On April 24, prosecutors announced that Bowdoin — on an unrevealed date — had signed a proffer letter and acknowledged to law enforcement officials that the material allegations against ASD all were true.

Proffer letters sometimes are used when prosecutors believe the one who proffers can aid law enforcement in an investigation.

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