EDITORIAL: Bowdoin, Family Suffered Second Legal Blow Yesterday; August AND December Cases Will Proceed To An Outcome Apt To Send A Chill Across ‘Surfing’ Universe

adviewglobalstreetaddressmagnifiedYesterday’s ruling by a federal judge that AdSurfDaily President Andy Bowdoin would not be permitted to change his mind about submitting to the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in a case brought in August 2008 dealt the embattled surf firm a crippling blow.

But a virtually unnoticed ruling yesterday by Judge Rosemary Collyer in a second forfeiture case brought in December 2008 against other ASD-connected assets was equally devastating — at least from the point of view of Bowdoin’s champions on the Pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum and unnamed members of a mysterious “group” of surf participants who had advised him earlier this year to embark on a scorched-earth campaign against the government.

Yesterday’s ruling by Collyer in the December case did not generate headlines, in part because Bowdoin had managed to rivet the attention of ASD members on the August case and the enormous sum of money involved. The ruling in the December case, though, was the second clear win for prosecutors yesterday because it maximized the leverage they can apply to destroy the alleged ASD Ponzi scheme operation.

In the December case, Collyer used exactly 13 words to discharge an order that had required prosecutors to defend against dismissal for failure to prosecute the action, which involves assets held by Bowdoin family members.

Collyer issued the order Oct. 5. Prosecutors responded to it Friday, saying Bowdoin and unnamed others were served “direct notice” in January 2009 of the complaint but did not file claims to property the government intends to seize as proceeds of a crime.

In short, Bowdoin was defending a case (August) and making personal claims to tens of millions of dollars with great fanfare — but was not defending the second case, which involved family members and far less money, at all.

Here is a question all ASD members should ask themselves: Why didn’t Bowdoin fight for the money and property seized in December?

If circumstances warrant, prosecutors now can argue that the reason neither Bowdoin nor family members defended against the second case was because they did not need the money and a plan was in place to generate even more cash — perhaps to replace all the property seized in the December case.

Prosecutors have suggested in court filings — through a veiled reference to the AdViewGlobal autosurf — that Bowdoin indeed had a plan to replace the lost money and property by operating an autosurf offshore. They could argue, for example, that while Bowdoin was negotiating to settle the August case, he was not negotiating in good faith because of a secret plan to launch a second surf to cover losses sustained by ASD.

And they could argue that, while Bowdoin was telling members in a conference call that the tens of millions of dollars seized in August belonged to them, he was so unconcerned about the December money and property that he didn’t bother even to stake a claim to it.

Along those lines, prosecutors could argue that, if the August money belonged to members as Bowdoin claimed, so, too, did the December money.

Why didn’t he file a claim to it if it belonged to members?

Prosecutors, in effect, could argue that the December money was chump change to Bowdoin because there already was a plan to replace it.

The ruling in the December case paves the way for the government to seek a default judgment to more than $1 million in personal property prosecutors said was acquired with illegal proceeds from ASD. Owners of the personal property include George and Judy Harris.

George Harris is the son of Bowdoin’s wife, Edna Faye Bowdoin. Judy Harris is the wife of George Harris.

Even Edna Faye Bowdoin had been a potential claimant in the December case. Prosecutors said she and George Harris opened a bank account in June 2008, funding it with an opening deposit of more than $177,000.

George Harris later called the bank on the telephone and caused more than $157,000 of the opening deposit to be transferred by wire to a third bank to pay off the mortgage on the Harris home in Tallahassee, prosecutors said.

In the December complaint, prosecutors described the transaction as money that had been obtained illegally by ASD and deposited in Bank of America in a wire-fraud and money-laundering scheme — and money that ultimately left Bank of America through the actions of Bowdoin, his wife and George Harris to be used in a second wire-fraud and money-laundering scheme involving two other banks.

There’s your answer to the question about why Bowdoin didn’t fight for the money in the December case. Fighting for it would have forced ASD’s rank-and-file to focus on the inconvenient  facts of the twin cases, not the convenient story Bowdoin and his shills were putting out about the August case.

The December allegation, which laid out a case for wire fraud and conspiracy, put George Harris, Judy Harris and Edna Faye Bowdoin in jeopardy of losing their freedom. Andy Bowdoin had to know that — and yet he focused the attention of members on the August case, even saying he was inspired to keep fighting for them by a former Miss America who had to learn to walk again after being seriously injured in an automobile accident.

By not explaining to members the gravity of the December complaint — indeed, by virtually ignoring it in communications with members and relying on shills to deflect attention away from the more sinister elements of the case — Andy Bowdoin demonstrated that the rank-and-file was just a tool he used to serve his own ends.

Some of his most prominent shills even tried to keep members from filling out the government victims’ form. They were not serving the members at large; they were serving only themselves. They didn’t want to give up the money any more than Bowdoin — and they certainly didn’t want to join Bowdoin as a defendant in a criminal prosecution.

So, they painted the government as evil. And they chose to cloud the issues and not share information that members could use to make informed choices. People who insisted on discussing the actual facts were dismissed as “Rats, Bed Bugs, Maggots, Cockroaches And Everything Else.”

You can look it up.

“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 last week. “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.”

No one from ASD filed a claim to an $800,000 building in Quincy, Fla., prosecutors said.

The building had been paid for in cash and had been described as the new headquarters for ASD and its dozens of employees. Regardless, the building ultimately proved expendable. That’s noteworthy, considering the fact that Bowdoin argued in the August case that the government was responsible for the job losses. He blamed the government — and then didn’t fight for the building he told employees would be their new home.

Also noteworthy is that neither George Harris nor Judy Harris filed a claim to their own home. At the same time, neither George nor Judy Harris filed a claim for a 2008 Honda automobile with a value of nearly $30,000. Prosecutors said the car also had been acquired with criminal proceeds.

Claims also were not filed for two other cars — a 2009 Acura and a 2009 luxury Lincoln sedan with a combined value of more than $80,000, prosecutors said. Marine equipment valued at more than more than $44,000 also was not claimed.

Fighting for members and employees? Hardly. Andy Bowdoin and his crew were lying to them — both overtly and through lies of omission.

The December case provided plenty of leverage to the prosecutors, and Collyer’s ruling yesterday means the case will proceed to an outcome, rather than dying on the vine.

Indeed, the “Rats, Bed Bugs, Maggots, Cockroaches And Everything Else” have been exposed.

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7 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Bowdoin, Family Suffered Second Legal Blow Yesterday; August AND December Cases Will Proceed To An Outcome Apt To Send A Chill Across ‘Surfing’ Universe”

  1. Patrick, Andy still has a few stragglers espousing his wonderfulness, although the number is quickly diminishing. But most of us who are reasonable people don’t buy the “Andy is fighting for us” garbage. As Judge Collyer pointed out, his only concern is trying to stay out of jail. He should have thought of that long before now, when he started up ASD. His track record as a businessman speaks for itself, two of which ended in felony convictions.

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  2. I has been a really exciting week. Justice is alive and well in this country, even though at times I have had some doubts. If and when the settlements are made to the victims, there is still the BoA
    Class Action lawsuit. Mr. Cowden promised a victims fund would be set-up. I wonder if the new AG plans to honor his committment.

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  3. Hi Richard,

    Richard Burson: I has been a really exciting week. Justice is alive and well in this country, even though at times I have had some doubts.

    Indeed, the course of justice took a detour for months and months.

    Judge Collyer’s ruling yesterday basically occurred 51 weeks — nearly a year — after her ruling of Nov. 19, 2008, that ASD had not demonstrated it was a lawful business and not a Ponzi scheme.

    Andy knew the November 2008 ruling was crystal clear. He agreed to the forfeiture in January 2009, less that two months after the November ruling.

    The case was nearly litigated to conclusion — until the pro se litigants jumped in, and Andy himself emerged as a pro se litigant demanding a do-over. All of the delays since then can be traced to pro se filings that began in February.

    No restitution program could be implemented because of the actions by Bowdoin and the pro se litigants, and yet Bowdoin would have members believe he was acting in the interests of the rank-and-file.

    It’s possible, of course, that he WAS acting in the interests of some members — potential co-defendants, for instance.

    In any event, the true victims had to wait. What made it offensive to many of them was his bid to sell the wait as something he was doing for them.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  4. So on a informational basis, what happens now? Can Andy file anymore claims or delay due process for ASD victims? If and when the govt. has full ownership of all ASD funds and property, how will distribution of funds take place or what kind of restitution plan does the govt have in mind? Did Golden Panda victims ever receive any forfeited funds from the govt. yet? Truly, I’m just happy to see justice done. I wish I would have followed my gut feeling over a year and a half ago that the rebates were too good to be true! Thank you for your updates and factual information presented to all, Patrick!

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  5. Patrick, let me first say thank-you for your up front & to the point information concerning all this. I am not one to understand the legal system… but I do know when I have been bamboozled! (a little late on this one unfortunately). But I have seen a lot of the procedings, and wonder if you might answer a couple of questions for me.
    One; Do you think this all could have been done for B of A’s benefit? To keep our money during they’re purging period?
    Two; I have what I think is a large sum involved in this mess, and would like to think I may get it back or most of it some day. Do you think they (gov’t)will require “proof of deposit” or “our records” for refund? I have moved so many times since this,I have misplaced them & I would have to request it from my bank?
    Thanks for your response in advance and God Bless your honesty!
    Max

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  6. Hi Max,

    Max St.Thomas: Patrick, let me first say thank-you for your up front & to the point information concerning all this. I am not one to understand the legal system… but I do know when I have been bamboozled! (a little late on this one unfortunately). But I have seen a lot of the procedings, and wonder if you might answer a couple of questions for me.

    One; Do you think this all could have been done for B of A’s benefit? To keep our money during they’re purging period?

    Thanks for the note, Max.

    No, I don’t believe any of what the government did was for B of A’s benefit; I believe the government did what it did to stop a Ponzi scheme from mushrooming and consuming even more wealth. The Feds’ acts were designed neither to shore up B of A’s balance sheet nor its own.

    I’ve never had a sense that any of it was done for a nefarious or underhanded reason. Remember, this case was pre-Madoff. A $100 million Ponzi scheme was big news in August 2008, four months before news of Madoff’s colossal scheme broke.

    I’ve read some conspiracy theories advanced by ASD members, of course. One of them was that the government seized the money so it could reinvest it — and already has earned billions of dollars. The person advancing the theory was soliciting funds to sue the government.

    Some folks on the ASD side are capable of saying ANYTHING to paint the government in the worst possible light. I have not seen a shred of evidence to substantiate some of the more fanciful claims on Surf’s Up, for instance.

    A couple of weeks ago I did a story about Florida dissolving both ASD Inc. and Bowdoin/Harris Enterprises Inc. for not filing annual reports as required — even after both firms benefited from a five-month window the state provided to submit the paperwork.

    Before a day had passed, someone at Surf’s Up had turned the story of Andy’s failure to file two documents into a raging conspiracy theory in which Florida was conspiring with the Feds — and/or the Feds were conspiring with Florida — to keep Andy’s money tied up so he couldn’t pay the filing fees.

    Max St.Thomas: Two; I have what I think is a large sum involved in this mess, and would like to think I may get it back or most of it some day. Do you think they (gov’t)will require “proof of deposit” or “our records” for refund? I have moved so many times since this,I have misplaced them & I would have to request it from my bank?

    Max, I don’t have the answer to this specific question. It might be to your benefit to retrieve the records from your bank, in case they are needed to process your restitution request. I doubt you will get most of your money back, and the government already has said no one will get 100 cents on the dollar.

    Perhaps you’ll find some of the information on this page helpful:

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/dc/Victim_Witness_Assistance/adsurfdaily.html

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  7. Max: I would highly recommend you do the following: Print copies of all your E-mails from your upline, or from anyone having to do with ASD and you; as well as the ones you sent to them. As Patrick has said, I would definitely get copies of all pyaments made to ASD which were done by check, wire transfer, bank money order, or any other means. If you had any telephone conversations with your upline you made, I would highlight those calls on your phone records.

    You will not get 100% of your money back from the government, BUT you can sue your upline in civil court for your losses. Of course only you can decide if this is worth the cost, time and effort involved, but if was thousands of dollars, it would be worth it. If it was a relative, that’s another story.

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