BREAKING NEWS: Prosecution Says It Will Seek Default Judgment Against ASD Assets Named In December 2008 Complaint; Asserts Bowdoin, Others Were Served ‘Direct Notice’ In January 2009, But Did Not File Claims To More Than $1 Million In Property Paid For By Members

UPDATED 8:09 A.M. ET (NOV. 7 U.S.A.) Easy come, easy go?

ASD President Andy Bowdoin and unnamed others were served “direct notice” in January 2009 of a forfeiture complaint filed in December 2008 but did not file claims to property the government intends to seize as proceeds of a crime, federal prosecutors said this morning.

Bowdoin’s failure to file claims to less-valuable items seized in the December complaint are in stark contrast to his aggressive bids to reassert claims to tens of millions of dollars seized from bank accounts in Bowdoin’s name in an August 2008 forfeiture complaint.

The notice of the December complaint was given “very promptly to known potential claimants in January 2009,” and yet none of them acted to assert an ownership interest over cars, marine equipment, computer equipment and real estate name defendants in the December complaint, prosecutors said.

The total value of property to which neither Bowdoin nor family members asserted claims exceeded $1 million, according to court filings. Prosecutors said all of the property was paid for by members who participated in Bowdoin’s autosurf Ponzi scheme.

One of the seized items was a building ASD had paid $800,000 in cash to acquire, prosecutors said. ASD said it planned to move its operations — and its dozens of employees to the building — but never filed a claim for the building, according to records in the December 2008 case.

How Bowdoin intends to explain to employees and members that an $800,000 building paid for by participants was not worth fighting for is unclear. In a September conference call transcribed by the U.S. Secret Service, Bowdoin said ASD wanted to reopen — and yet never filed a claim to the building, prosecutors said.

Bowdoin had described the marine equipment — including two jet skis, a Cabana boat and other property — as recreational items for members who came to visit him in Quincy, Fla. — members said.

Regardless, neither he nor any other ASD insider staked a claim to the items, prosecutors said.

“In keeping with the likely outcome of this notification [of the December complaint], plaintiff also is preparing a motion for default judgment and a final order of forfeiture,” prosecutors said. “As things now stand, plaintiff expects that the Court will be in a position to grant such a motion, which should result in the dismissal of this case, by approximately January 15, 2010, that is, in 70 days.”

Today’s filing by prosecutors Barry Wiegand and Deborah Connor may prompt ASD members to question why Bowdoin, who has positioned himself as a champion to participants, is fighting hard for cash seized in August 2008 — but not at all for less-valuable property named in the December 2008 complaint.

It also raises questions about why Bowdoin’s wife, Edna Faye Bowdoin, and her son, George Harris, are not fighting for property seized in the December 2008 complaint. At the same time, it raises questions about why Judy Harris, the wife of George Harris, also is not fighting for the property.

Prosecutors said Edna Faye Bowdoin and George Harris opened a bank account in June 2008, less than two weeks after a May 31, 2008, ASD rally in Las Vegas had concluded.

The account was funded with an opening deposit of more than $177,000 from illegal proceeds from ASD, prosecutors said.

The Tallahassee home of George and Judy Harris was seized in the December 2008 complaint, which followed on the heels of an August 2008 complaint against other ASD-connected assets, collectively including huge sums of money in 10 Bank of America accounts in Andy Bowdoin’s name. Prosecutors said the Harris mortgage of more than $157,000 was paid off with criminal proceeds from ASD, from the account opened by Edna Faye Bowdoin and George Harris in June 2008.

Also seized in the December 2008 complaint was a 2008 Honda automobile registered to George and Judy Harris. Prosecutors said the car also was acquired with criminal proceeds from ASD.

George and Judy Harris later emerged as the purported owners of the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, which formally launched in February 2009 — after two forfeiture complaints had been filed against ASD and after Andy Bowdoin had been named a defendant in a separate racketeering lawsuit.

Bowdoin never responded to the racketeering complaint, which also names ASD attorney Robert Garner a defendant.

Although Andy Bowdoin eventually submitted (in January 2009) to the forfeiture of the money seized in August 2008, he changed his mind in February and began to file as a pro se litigant to reassert his claims.

Some members of the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum championed Bowdoin’s reemergence as a pro se litigant in the August 2008 case, offering prayers and well-wishes but never asking why Bowdoin and family members appeared to be ignoring the December 2008 forfeiture case and why Bowdoin was ignoring the January 2009 racketeering case.

Bowdoin chose not to assert an ownership interest in the less valuable marine equipment, computers and other assets seized in the December 2008 complaint, prosecutors said this morning.

In recent weeks, however, he has aggressively reasserted claims to the tens of millions of dollars seized in August 2008 case, according to court records in the August case.

But Bowdoin and family members did nothing at all to secure the return of the water equipment, the $800,000 building, the Harris automobile, a model-year 2009, $50,000 Lincoln luxury sedan for presumptive use by Bowdoin and his wife, and a 2009 Acura automobile acquired in the name of a former ASD employee, according to court records in the December case.

The automobiles had a combined value of more than $110,000, according to court filings. The combined value of the water equipment totaled nearly $44,000. Based on the value of the cars, the water equipment, the building — and the Harris home — neither Bowdoin nor family members filed claims to more than $1 million in property.

Prosecutors said all of the property was acquired from money directed at ASD by members.

Prosecutors said they had expected a “global resolution” of both forfeiture cases in 2009, based on assertions by Bowdoin. Early in the year, Bowdoin met in person with prosecutors and admitted ASD had been operating illegally, according to court filings.

In August 2009, Bowdoin announced in court filings that he was reentering negotiations with prosecutors. Bowdoin asked for at least two extensions to continue negotiations, according to records. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer granted extensions from Aug. 7 to Sept. 14.

On Sept. 14, Bowdoin filed motions that reasserted his claims to the seized millions, triggering blistering motions by the prosecution that Bowdoin was trying to lie his way back into the case, while also lying to members.

In September — for the first time — prosecutors made a veiled reference to the AVG autosurf, saying, “Maybe Bowdoin thought that before the government brought its charges he (like some of his family members) could move to another country and profit from a knock-off autosurf program that Bowdoin funded and helped to start.”

Prosecutors suggested today that, when negotiations broke down, they sought seizure warrants to take possession of the assets named in the December complaint.

“Promptly when it appeared that a global resolution of all related litigation had become much less likely, the government applied to this court in late October for seizure warrants for several of the defendant properties.” prosecutors said. “Within days of the Court issuing the warrants, federal law enforcement agents had swiftly executed them, and all defendant items of personal property are in the custody of an agency of the U.S. government.”

All of the property seized in the December complaint now is advertised for forfeiture on the government’s official forfeiture website: forfeiture.gov. Along with the building, boats, cars and other real estate, the government also advertised formal notice of forfeiture of “[a]pproximately Six Hundred Thirty Four Thousand, Two Hundred Sixty Six Dollars and Thirteen Cents ($634,266.13), in U.S. funds previously deposited at the Bartow County Bank, Account #xxx-602, in the name of Golden Panda Ad Builder.”

Read today’s filing by the prosecution in the December 2008 forfeiture case.

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6 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Prosecution Says It Will Seek Default Judgment Against ASD Assets Named In December 2008 Complaint; Asserts Bowdoin, Others Were Served ‘Direct Notice’ In January 2009, But Did Not File Claims To More Than $1 Million In Property Paid For By Members”

  1. Bowdoin had described the marine equipment — including two jet skis, a Cabana boat and other property — as recreational items for members who came to visit him in Quincy, Fla. — members said.

    Regardless, neither he nor any other ASD insider staked a claim to the items, prosecutors said.

    Isn’t it odd, how the ponzi supporters have referred to the other forfeiture as “their money” and how the evil government have stolen “their money”. And yet, no one has laid claim to any property in this forfeiture.

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  2. Hi Tony,

    Tony H: Isn’t it odd, how the ponzi supporters have referred to the other forfeiture as “their money” and how the evil government have stolen “their money”. And yet, no one has laid claim to any property in this forfeiture.

    Yes, indeed, it is odd.

    Along those lines, today’s filing by the prosecution also raises the intriguing POSSIBILITY — and I stress POSSIBILITY — that some of Bowdoin’s family members also have met with prosecutors.

    This is from the Page 2 of today’s prosecution filing: (Emphasis added)

    “After the filing of this action, a warrant of arrest in rem issued for the defendant properties, according to law. Not later than January 31, 2009, plaintiff had arranged for federal law enforcement agents to serve the defendant properties. In the course of doing so, plaintiff also gave DIRECT NOTICE TO ALL KNOWN POTENTIAL CLAIMANTS. Principal among these was Mr. Thomas A. Bowdoin, Jr., and PERSONS or entities associated with Mr. Bowdoin.”

    Bowdoin is known to have met with prosecutors over a period of four days. Today’s filing suggests it is POSSIBLE that family members had personal meetings with prosecutors/law enforcement, too.

    One definition of “direct notice” is notice delivered directly or PERSONALLY to intended recipients.

    The import of this is that it may help explain AdViewGlobal’s sudden switch to an “association” structure on dates that coincided with Bowdoin’s reentry in the ASD case as a pro se litigant.

    And it also might explain the plea on Surf’s Up for people to get their money out of bank accounts and to close them down because the Secret Service was coming.

    Patrick

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  3. So would ANY of the members be able to lay claim to the other items since it is allegedly ‘theirs’?

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  4. Hi Whip,

    Whip: So would ANY of the members be able to lay claim to the other items since it is allegedly ‘theirs’?

    I don’t believe so, Whip. Some ASD members may wish to reference this July 16 story:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2009/07/16/breaking-news-federal-judge-says-curtis-richmond-six-others-who-used-pro-se-litigation-blueprint-cannot-intervene-in-adsurfdaily-forfeiture-case/

    Readers may find the comments thread accompanying the story helpful. Entertained shared his thoughts in the thread.

    The July 16 ruling by Collyer against the first wave of would-be intervenors is instructive:

    http://patrickpretty.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/collyerinterventionruling.pdfhttp://patrickpretty.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/collyerinterventionruling.pdf

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  5. Whip,

    Wanted to add quickly that your question points out one of the conundrums of Bowdoin’s conference-call claim that the seized money belonged to members. In fact, he called it “your money” FOUR times in the call which, as you know, the Secret Service transcribed and provided to Judge Collyer.

    Indeed, if the money belonged to the members — not Bowdoin — he couldn’t gain standing in his own case. But the August money in the bank accounts was all in Bowdoin’s name.

    And the personal property in the December case either was in the names of the individual Bowdoin family members or Bowdoin/Harris Enterprises Inc.

    So, again members have no standing, and the Bowdoin/Harris family did have standing — but the paperwork suggests no claims were timely filed.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  6. And here is the phrase that stood out on reading the document

    Prosecutors said Cellette is cooperating in the probe.

    Madoff and various others are at least sufficiently realistic to know when to stop protesting – unlike Thomas Andy Bowdoin & Co. This is, of course, far better for their victims, as they will not have to wait so long for any restitution available.

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