BREAKING NEWS: ASD’s New Attorney Seeks To Withdraw Bowdoin’s Pro Se Motion To Rescind His Decision To Submit To Forfeiture And File Anew: Will Case Slow To A Crawl?

On Feb. 27, ASD President Andy Bowdoin — acting as his own attorney — filed a motion to rescind a decision he made in January to submit to the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars and real estate seized by the government in a wire fraud, money-laundering and Ponzi scheme investigation.

Federal prosecutors, on April 24, filed a memorandum asking U.S. District Judge Judge Rosemary Collyer to deny Bowdoin’s motion to rescind the forfeiture. Prosecutors argued that the law wasn’t on Bowdoin’s side, and advised the court that Bowdoin had acknowledged the government’s material allegations all were true and that Bowdoin had signed a proffer letter.

Bowdoin, according to prosecutors, had:

  • “confirmed to law enforcement officials that he modeled his enterprise on another’s failed fraud scheme”
  • “acknowledged that there was almost no revenue independent from what he secured from the ‘members’”
  • “confirmed that the revenue figures of the enterprise were managed to make it appear to prospective members that the enterprise called Ad Surf Daily was a consistently profitable, and brilliant, passive income opportunity”

Charles A. Murray, whom Bowdoin retained as paid counsel in April after Bowdoin earlier had filed one pro se motion after another, now has asked Collyer to let Bowdoin withdraw his self-filed motion to rescind his decision to submit to the forfeiture “without prejudice.”

Murray advised the court that, as Bowdoin and ASD’s new paid corporate counsel, he intended to “resubmit this Motion to Rescind on or before May 15, 2009″  — only with a lawyer’s touch, not the amateur legal prose of a pro se litigant.

“Good cause exists for permitting Mr. Bowdoin et al, Claimants’ to withdraw the pro se
pleading and refile it upon consultation with counsel,” Murray argued.

“Unrepresented at the time Mr. Bowdoin, et al, Claimants’ filed the original motion, Mr.
Bowdoin et al, Claimants’ were not aware of the legal standards applicable to the motion and, so, did not present all facts germane to decision.”

In a March 13 letter to ASD members published at the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum, Bowdoin chided prosecutors by saying his pro se filings “should really get their attention.

“Watch for the filings,” Bowdoin instructed. “I will be speaking out on a conference call as soon as the filings are completed. We will notify you of the call. I look forward to talking to you then.”

Bowdoin, however, never filed another pro se motion (the last one was filed March 9, four days before Bowdoin had turned to Surf’s Up to reinvigorate support and taunt prosecutors).

And Bowdoin never conducted the promised conference call.

Even before news of Bowdoin’s pro se filings broke on March 4, Surf’s Up had been hinting something special might be coming. Bowdoin’s pro se move coincided with an announcement by the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, which has close ties to ASD, that it was moving underground and forming a private association.

AVG introduced members to a company known as Pro Advocate Group, which says it can help people practice law without a license. Bowdoin’s three initial pro se filings were signed and dated  by him Feb. 25, one day before AVG introduced Pro Advocate Group.  Bowdoin’s filings did not become a matter of public record until March 4.

Best-laid plans?

It is possible that an order from Collyer that Bowdoin didn’t anticipate short-circuited his pro se litigation plan. On March 26, the judge ordered Bowdoin’s previous paid counsel to inform Bowdoin that corporate entities that had filed claims in the ASD case — AdSurfDaily Inc. and Bowdoin/Harris Enterprise Inc. — could not proceed pro se. Collyer also ordered the lawyers to request permission to withdraw from the case if that was their intent.

Akerman Senterfitt, Bowdoin’s previous paid counsel, complied with the judge’s order and was granted leave to withdraw from the case.

Probe Still Under Way

The ASD case continues to be an active investigation. It is possible that investigators viewed Bowdoin’s March 13 Surf’s Up letter and that prosecutors made a veiled reference to it in their April 24 memorandum to Collyer asking her not to permit Bowdoin to change his mind about submitting to the forfeiture.

“Mr. Bowdoin says that after discussing this case with his supporters, and concluding that
they were smarter than his attorneys, he has changed his mind,” prosecutors said.

Are they referring to these words in Bowdoin’s Surf’s Up letter?

“About a month ago, several members introduced me to a group that studied what my attorneys did,” Bowdoin said in the letter. “The group said that my attorneys had taken the wrong approach. The group was very confident that they could help because the government had broken so many laws and had violated our rights as citizens of the United States.”

Nowhere in any of Bowdoin’s four self-filed pleadings does he discuss his rationale for becoming a pro se litigant after conferring with supporters. His only public statements on the matter have been made on Surf’s Up.

A New Clash?

Murray’s filing on Bowdoin’s behalf potentially sets up a new clash with prosecutors, who now have yet another document to address. At the same time, pro se motions filed by other litigants in the case have appeared on the record in recent days, and may require additional responses from prosecutors.

If Murray persuades Collyer to grant Murray’s motion to withdraw Bowdoin’s rescission motion and Murray files a new motion to rescind, it would mean that:

  • Bowdoin had submitted to the forfeiture on the advice of previous paid counsel.
  • Changed his mind more than a month later as a pro se litigant and tried to undo his forfeiture decision with a self-filed rescission motion.
  • Changed his mind again about his rescission motion under the advice of new paid counsel.
  • Withdrew his motion to rescind his forfeiture decision, only to have it reinstated on his behalf by a professional attorney.

On Jan. 13, Bowdoin asked the court to permit him to submit to the forfeiture. Collyer granted Bowdoin’s request Jan. 22, a hurdle that began to open a door for prosecutors to begin the slow process of liquidating ASD assets to provide refunds to customers.

Now, approaching four months later — and with pro se pleadings dominating the docket — prosecutors have not been able even to begin the liquidation process or implement a refund program.

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2 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: ASD’s New Attorney Seeks To Withdraw Bowdoin’s Pro Se Motion To Rescind His Decision To Submit To Forfeiture And File Anew: Will Case Slow To A Crawl?”

  1. In my opinion, Andy’s “defense” looks like a senile old man’s attempt at Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine….and his new attorney sees it as possible grounds for appeal should he be convicted.

    What happened to the brilliant marketing guru? It’s more in character with the vacant stare of his last video appearance where he admitted he had sold the member database to the new “brilliant” do nothing, get rich scheme.

    If it’s in any way indicative of how his back office operations functioned, no wonder it’s taking Cowden’s boys and girls a good long while to untangle the mess.

    Oh, and one last question, how much outside income was generating? That’s the crux of the matter and always has been. The rest is just window dressing.

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  2. A tangled mess I’m sure it absolutely is. Pro se motions are the sludge that slows down the justice system, but I’m sure he knew exactly what he was doing….

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