REALITY CHECK: Is Bowdoin Running Out Of Options?

UPDATED 8:52 A.M. EDT (U.S.A.) Is AdSurfDaily President Andy Bowdoin quickly running out of options?

A small spin campaign appears to be under way, and an email circulating among ASD members suggests the company will hold a conference call Monday. Like everything concerning ASD, the wording of the email is ambiguous. It is possible, however, that the email signals in ASDspeak that the end game is under way.

There is trouble in all directions for ASD.

Imagine ASD President Andy Bowdoin standing inside a see-through box facing you, with each wall of the box having a see-through grandstand. Every person in the grandstands poses risk to Bowdoin.

The government is in the grandstands in the ceiling, which could collapse at any second; RICO attorneys are in the cellar grandstands, which could open up and swallow the floor. ASD’s rank-and-file membership is in the grandstands to Bowdoin’s left, which seat thousands of people who have been fleeced. They’ve been ignored for so long — and are so soured by Bowdoin’s various legal filings — that crashing the gate and bringing down the wall so Bowdoin cannot ignore their questions or mute them in a phone conference is a real possibility.

Finally, seated in the grandstands on Bowdoin’s right, are potential co-defendants. They’re unhappy, too. Some of them want the legal game to continue because it provides a limited amount of cover for them. Others, however, have come to the realization they’ve been drafted into a conspiracy and hold Bowdoin accountable for making fools and potential co-defendants out of them. Some of them perhaps have received target letters from the prosecution. Others perhaps are unindicted co-conspirators. This wall, too, is in danger of collapse.

If it all comes tumbling down, ASD’s few remaining janitors will sweep it up. ASD’s janitors always sweep it up. Some of them sing and think happy thoughts while they sweep. After all, there are no prizes for predicting rain, only for building arks.

The Pickle

In similar cases, courts have issued orders to repatriate assets, preserve evidence and prevent the destruction of documents. Judges also have jailed Ponzi scheme figures for intransigence or simply because they were arrested in advance of a bail hearing.

It is possible that certain members of ASD and AdViewGlobal (AVG) have received target letters from the Department of Justice. Bowdoin himself hints of the existence of a sealed indictment handed down in May, the same month closely connected AVG was engaging in all sorts of bizarre behavior that got only more bizarre as spring transitioned into summer.

Bowdoin’s two recent affidavits,  if anything, show insiders and serial promoters that significant jail time may be in the offing for criminal participants. Woe to them if they try to wipe evidence. They also are in a box: The government has the database and other records, and has interviewed garrulous Bowdoin over a period of at least four days.

They weren’t discussing the weather or how Florida and Florida State will do this fall on the gridiron.

Separately, the prosecution can argue, we believe, that Bowdoin and perhaps others are flight risks. The August complaint mentions an assertion by a banker that Bowdoin intended to buy a home in another country. (The snippet below is from paragraph 64 of the August forfeiture complaint.)

“A [Secret Service/IRS Task Force Member] also learned that earlier in July 2008, a bank other than BOA closed the last account that was controlled by Bowdoin or family members after that bank determined, and explained to them, that an investigation by the bank determined that Bowdoin appeared to be operating a Ponzi scheme. Bowdoin indicated that he purchased, or was seeking to purchase, a home in another country.”

‘Offshore’ Shelter Is A Myth

The very nature of ASD’s — and AVG’s — operations inure to the prosecution’s benefit. Both companies publicly advertised funding through offshore payment processors. Nothing in the public record so far in the forfeiture case against ASD suggests any of the offshore money has been repatriated — either by Bowdoin or alleged co-conspirators.

So, the prosecution can point to the “home in another country” claim, Bowdoin’s intransigence and the existence of publicly advertised, offshore payment mechanisms in the names of thousands of people to demonstrate high potential for money to be hidden or dissipated, evidence to be destroyed and for people to flee to avoid prosecution. Bowdoin always has been at risk of confronting an order to repatriate the money and/or sit in jail.

Participants also could find themselves confronting such an order — whether they have been indicted or not. A lack of an order, however, does not provide cover for individuals to destroy evidence. Prosecutors know that evidence exists.  If they go looking for it and discover it’s not there, it won’t be a happy day for co-conspirators who destroyed it. They are up against one of the top law-enforcement agencies in the world.

Some readers will remember, of course, that the word went out with seven exclamation points on the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum in February to start closing down bank accounts because the Secret Service was coming.

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“If you took any money from ASD and it is in a bank account, get it out!!!!!!!

Thanks,
Erma

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Because the government has seized Bowdoin’s real estate, he may have serious trouble making bail if he finds himself sitting in jail. His bond could be set in excess of his paper net worth, owing to the serious nature of the crimes. Money hidden in shell companies  — Bowdoin/Harris Enterprises or any Bowdoin-connected business, for example — will be of no help, because that is the money the government would seek to collect to stop Bowdoin from committing more crimes.

In the Regenesis 2×2 case, the Secret Service kept certain parties under surveillance for five weeks, prior even to applying for search warrants. Agents even monitored a Dumpster and observed as evidence was discarded. They then gathered the evidence from the Dumpster and brought in experts in computer forensics.

Given the nature of AVG’s claims — Uruguay and all of that — there is a chance that certain people have been kept under surveillance. It is possible that the Justice Department has moved the State Department to seal the borders with respect to travel by certain individuals.

It is possible that passports already have been collected. But because money either is missing or unaccounted for and may be stashed anywhere, the risk of flight is high.

Andy Bowdoin and criminal co-conspirators, we believe, have created the perfect storm for ASD/AVG members. There might have been a concerted, coordinated effort in February to obstruct justice.

A March 13 letter on Surf’s Up in which Bowdoin announced he had met with a “group” and filed pro se court pleadings, we believe, is extremely damaging.

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About a month ago, several members introduced me to a group that studied what my attorneys did. 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.

I have rescinded my decision to release our ownership of all the assets. I filed various motions a few weeks ago, and several more last week, to dismiss our case and to return the assets because of the violations committed by our government.

We are ready to pursue this all the way to the US Supreme Court.

A great injustice has been done to 100,000 people, and we need to stand up and fight for our rights. Some agencies of the government have become so powerful that they believe they are above the Constitution. We, as members of ASD, need to help stop this misuse of power. I ask each one of you to write to the Justice Department, to your senators and representatives, to the President, and even to Glenn Beck of Fox News. Tell them all what the Justice Department has done to your business.

We will be filing papers in the next couple of weeks that should really get their attention. Watch for the filings. 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.

I appreciate your support in helping us get back what rightfully belongs to the members of ASD.

Thanks,
Andy Bowdoin

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Now, compare that letter to what Bowdoin said about his pro se status in paragraph 23 of his corrected affidavit filed two days ago:

http://patrickpretty.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/bowdoincorrectedaffidavit.pdf

In effect, Bowdoin was advising the court that he ultimately concluded that his pro se strategy did not meet his needs — and that he didn’t recognize this until after he had embarked on the campaign. He makes no mention of the fact a federal judge advised him in March that corporate litigants could not proceed pro se.

“I determined that I could not adequately represent my legal interests pro se, and having lost confidence in my existing legal counsel, I retained separate criminal counsel to pursue reinstatement of my claims . . . ,” Bowdoin said, in paragraph 23 of the affidavit.

But in March, as the letter above demonstrates, Bowdoin was expressing supreme confidence about the pro se strategy: (Emphasis added.)

We are ready to pursue this all the way to the US Supreme Court,” he said. “We will be filing papers in the next couple of weeks that should really get their attention. Watch for the filings. 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.”

So, Bowdoin had turned over ASD’s fate to a “group” that had analyzed the approach of Bowdoin’s paid counsel, found it lacking and prevailed upon him to change his mind about submitting to the forfeiture.

“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,” Bowdoin said. “I have rescinded my decision to release our ownership of all the assets. I filed various motions a few weeks ago, and several more last week, to dismiss our case and to return the assets because of the violations committed by our government.”

Key phrases:

  • “The group”
  • “very confident that they could help”
  • “I have rescinded my decision” (after meeting with the group)

Bowdoin filed drivel with the coaching of the group. He signed the documents. His signature coincided with the “If you took any money from ASD and it is in a bank account, get it out!!!!!!!” report on Surf’s Up.

And it coincided with AVG’s sudden shift to an “association” structure after members, too, were introduced to a “group” — Pro Advocate Group.

The previous weeks and the following months were dominated by pro se filings, mostly not from Bowdoin. But Bowdoin now says, “I determined that I could not adequately represent my legal interests pro se.

He arrived at this conclusion after he promised a pro se Supreme Court battle and after a federal judge advised him corporate entities could not proceed pro se. Bowdoin’s affidavit, however, suggests he came to his recognition that the pro se strategy didn’t work for him only after taking the time — apparently weeks later — to contemplate the serious legal implications.

The trouble with that statement is that Bowdoin’s own affidavit shows the pro se strategy began after his four days of meetings with prosecutors and after his potential prison time was spelled out and after he submitted to the forfeiture — and yet Bowdoin would have a judge believe he did not understand the issues.

If he did not understand the issues, he would have had no reason to consult with the “group” and embark on the pro se strategy to begin with.

Not only is Bowdoin blaming government lawyers and his own paid lawyers, he also now is blaming the amateur lawyers — and perhaps a cloaked professional attorney whose name has not been introduced in the case but helped Bowdoin in his pro se efforts.

Bowdoin is taking responsibility for none of it: bad prosecutors, bad lawyers, bad amateurs who happened to arrive on the scene around the same time he submitted to the forfeiture, the Secret Service reportedly was seizing bank accounts and AVG was going underground with the “association” nonsense.

It looks like a bizarre bid to obstruct justice — and Bowdoin is trapped between people who prevailed upon him to proceed pro se, and the government, which holds Bowdoin’s proffer, his statements (probably recorded and perhaps even on videotape), the database, business records, banking records and evidence gleaned from others.

The walls could come crashing down soon — unless negotiations Bowdoin entered into with the government weeks ago were productive, and a plan already is in place for Bowdoin to exit the stage after addressing members one last time.

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10 Responses to “REALITY CHECK: Is Bowdoin Running Out Of Options?”

  1. And yet, in spite of all the filings and revelations made in other venues such as this blog, some of the “Stepfords” are still ranting. Here’s another comment posted on Mike Mason’s blog by one of them [paragraph breaks added for easier reading].

    ♦♦♦

    Anonymous said…

    “The Secret Service was shocked when they came in and did not find stacks of money hidden and records with other bank accounts where Andy Bowdin and ASD tried to hide money. Nothing was found on Andy the way he managed ASD’s operation.

    4 attorney firm’s said ASD was NOT a Ponzi Scheme. All the money they said came into ASD is at the ASD Bank accounts that the government froze.

    At the first hearing Andy had with the Honorable Judge Rosemary Collyer,even she asked why has this ever come this far. It should have been settled long before reaching her. Now it is a year and a month later and it is still tied up.

    It was known at that time it was not a Ponzi nor wire fraud nor any one of the allegations made against ASD. Now one year and a month later don’t know anymore than what they did.

    This is ridiculous as Andy has NEVER cheated anybody out of a penny, as the money was all acounted for.

    THINK!!!!At this point its been proven ASD has not been a Ponzi. RIGHT!!RIGHT!!What are we waiting for.

    From another, out of 120,000 satisfied customers.”

    September 17, 2009 7:30 PM

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  2. As always you have hit the nail on the head and driven it deep into the heart of Andy and his associates. If I did not know better I would think that you were sitting at the table while all this was going on.

    When the indictment is unsealed you will learn just how close you have come to what is about to take place. The names on the list are many of the people most of us knew would be there and there will be a few surprises.

    Great job!

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  3. This is ridiculous as Andy has NEVER cheated anybody out of a penny, as the money was all acounted for

    This is one of the most bizarre statements I have seen in the ASD case (apart from the now famous “Andy is too honest to testify” quotation)

    Every single ASD member has had access to the Prosecution document from August 2008 which clearly states the FACT that Bowdoin had two previous felony convictions for security fraud and other documentation that verifies that he has still not paid all his previous victims.

    How anyone can make a statement like that is beyond all understanding and takes bizarre to a new level. No wonder it was posted anonymously! (yes Patrick one exclamation mark for this is justified. lol)

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  4. Hi Pat,

    Pat Dunn, quoting a poster elsewhere: “The Secret Service was shocked when they came in and did not find stacks of money hidden and records with other bank accounts where Andy Bowdin and ASD tried to hide money. Nothing was found on Andy the way he managed ASD’s operation.

    Good heavens. So, now the agency that guards the President of the United States and the Treasury — and has the one of the greatest fraud-detection teams on earth — was “shocked” not to see “stacks” of cash hidden in the former flower shop.

    And “nothing” was found lacking in Andy’s management.

    I wonder how the poster would describe the December seizure complaint — the one that described the cash purchase of an $800,000 building, the purchase of the water toys, the purchase of the three automobiles, the paying off of the $157,000 Harris mortgage, the purported $1 million theft at the hands of purported “Russian” hackers, the lack of a police report about the theft, the video creation, the porting of accounts from one company to another and the lack of disclosure to new members that they were paying members of at least one prior failed iteration of ASD, etc.

    Pat Dunn, quoting a poster elsewhere: 4 attorney firm’s said ASD was NOT a Ponzi Scheme. All the money they said came into ASD is at the ASD Bank accounts that the government froze.

    Some attorneys did say ASD was not a Ponzi scheme. The judge, however, said the testimony of ASD’s expert was not credible for a number of reasons.

    There is zero chance that all the money that came into ASD was in its BOA accounts — and that’s not even taking into consideration the checks that did not get deposited and were seized.

    It is highly possible that the checks were not deposited because ASD feared its BOA accounts were about to to seized. After all, a separate bank had just closed yet another Bowdoin account, citing Ponzi fears and a statement he perhaps was about to purchase a home offshore.

    Pat Dunn, quoting a poster elsewhere: Now it is a year and a month later and it is still tied up.

    Andy and the pro se filers are responsible for the tie-up. After all, Andy advised the judge he was submitting to the forfeiture — and then morphed into a pro se litigant almost six weeks later, saying he wanted a do-over.

    Pat Dunn: This is ridiculous as Andy has NEVER cheated anybody out of a penny, as the money was all acounted for.

    Don’t tell that to the senior-citizen Alabama couple who got fleeced out of the family farm in the 1990s. Andy and his cronies bought flashy cars with the money.

    Pat Dunn, quoting a poster elsewhere: THINK!!!!At this point its been proven ASD has not been a Ponzi. RIGHT!!RIGHT!!What are we waiting for.

    No such thing has been proven. In fact, ASD’s own witnesses virtually proved the opposite.

    With respect to the “RIGHT!!RIGHT!!What are we waiting for” clarion call, well, they’re waiting for Andy and others to stop gumming up the mix so a restitution program can be started for crime victims.

    Pat Dunn, quoting a poster elsewhere: It was known at that time it was not a Ponzi nor wire fraud nor any one of the allegations made against ASD.

    This is extreme magical thinking. Besides, even if it were true — and it’s not — there appears also to be all kinds of evidence of mail fraud. The prosecution could pick one of potentially thousands of instances.

    Patrick

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  5. The only option Bowdoin and his promoters had when the Secret Service raided ASD was to stop digging. Instead they went out and rented all the available backhoes and drilling equipment to dig the deepest hole possible.

    Andy had the option of defending himself as his property was “the accused”. The rest could have just stopped all activity but elected to involve themselves in all sorts of conspiracies. Not a smart choice.

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  6. Jack,

    I hope Erma and Alan are on that list. If Mark Simmons is on the list I won’t even ask for anything for XMas this year. Hopefully he is since he was dumb enough to go to that hearing.

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  7. Bob Guenther and Larry Friedman are on my Christmas list.

    Mindy Bales gets honorable mention.

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  8. And Fava “the Flasher” is on mine

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  9. Is Larry Friedman one of the 4 aw firms who said it wasn’t a ponzi?

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  10. Friedman was on Guenther’s conference calls, the ones where Bob was explaining how he was going to set Cowden and the rest of the government straight.

    Gregg Evans: Is Larry Friedman one of the 4 aw firms who said it wasn’t a ponzi?

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