Thanksgiving Thanks For The Word ‘Punters’ . . .

Dear Readers,

It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. We extend to you our warm wishes. Many of you are smarting or downright hurting because of the Ponzi scheme in your life — or, in some cases, schemes. Perhaps this is especially true of our readers who belonged to AdSurfDaily and its so-called clones.

It is possible that the litigation surrounding the August 2008 seizure of tens of millions of dollars from ASD President Andy Bowdoin’s bank accounts could begin to wind down soon and that a forfeiture order could be granted before Christmas. If that is the case, the ASD affair will become largely ministerial. Rather than having to respond to motions designed to slow down or derail the government’s case, prosecutors will be able to concentrate on getting money back into the hands of victims.

Many of you have been badly misled by ASD’s cheerleaders and apologists. Andy Bowdoin said he has spent more than $1 million defending your interests in the case and to keep himself out of prison. It very likely is true that the “your” to which he refers includes a small number of people in a universe of 100,000.

The apologists were able to use 100,000 — and, often, a number that even was higher — as part of a spin campaign. Perhaps you’ve read appeals such as this: “100,000 people can’t be wrong!”

Or even “120,000 people can’t be wrong!!!!!!!!!!”

Such words — and their corresponding number of exclamation points — were designed to misinform the public. The figure of 100,000, of course, presumed that Bowdoin had virtually unanimous support among the rank-and-file and that the people who did not support Bowdoin were few in number.

Dissenters were portrayed as few in number, often as “trolls.” The figure also was designed to set up the government as the bogeyman. ASD wanted you to believe the U.S. Secret Service was in the business of dispossessing widows, instead of chasing down the bad guys who stole their money.

And this brings us back to our headline: “Thanksgiving Thanks For The Word ‘Punters’ . . .”

We’ve noticed our readers from the U.K. use “punters” or “punter” as slang to describe the people targeted in Ponzi schemes. Sometimes “punters” or “punter” are used to describe people who choose to become crime victims or people who know they’re part of an illicit scheme and later try to assume the role of victims.

“Punters” and “punter” are excellent words in multiple contexts of the ASD case. Previously we’ve thanked our U.K. readers for the words “gobsmack” and “gobsmacked” to express utter astonishment.

Today we thank them for “punters” and “punter.” We were utterly gobsmacked by how well punters and punter described the ASD scheme, reducing a critical element of the case to its essence through the use of a single word.

While we’re thanking the British on this Thanksgiving Day, we’d also like to thank an American for his use of the word “dreck.” Dreck, too, is a fine word that conveys something that approaches perfect economy in certain contexts. It means “rubbish” or “trash,” and also reminds us of the word “drivel,” which often can be used in the same context as dreck.

We have used “drivel” to describe various pro se pleadings in the ASD case. We we utterly gobsmacked by the drivel put on full display by some of ASD’s punters. All of it was dreck.

So much of the ASD scheme came down to the disingenuous use of words — “rebates aren’t guaranteed” and “The U.S. Government has failed to produce any EVIDENCE of alleged wrongdoing,” for instance.

It turned out that Andy Bowdoin told two different stories about the money. He told a federal judge that it belonged to him. He told members in a Sept. 21, 2009, conference call that it belonged to them. But the money could not possibly have belonged to members if rebates weren’t guaranteed.

“Rebates aren’t guaranteed” means that only the display of advertising was guaranteed and that Bowdoin’s only duty to members was to display ads in the ASD rotator. It is the core deception of the wink-nod universe of autosurf Ponzi schemes, a deception that creates a license to steal. Strategic punters wanted ASD’s rank-and-file members to believe they were acting in the interests of the members as a whole.

They weren’t. They were acting in their own interests. The nonpunters posed a risk to them. It’s one of the reasons the government’s case was brought as a conspiracy.

In the end, Bowdoin didn’t even display the ads. That’s important. Prosecutors now can argue that he wanted to keep the money and not show the ads. In Bowdoin’s world, not only did the money not belong to members, neither did the value of the ads. Showing the ads would have exposed the con.

Prosecutors have made a veiled reference to the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf. RICO plaintiffs suing Bowdoin for racketeering have made a direct reference to AVG. Both the government and the RICO plaintiffs now have the option of arguing that the real reason ASD decided not to display the ads was that Bowdoin and his in-house punters intended to port them to AVG — just as Bowdoin had done when ASD morphed into ASD Cash Generator.

It also turned out that the Secret Service filed a 37-page affidavit under seal Aug. 1, 2008, and secured a warrant from a federal magistrate judge to seize the money. The agency said it believed Bowdoin planned to skip the country. Now, put that in the context of AVG and its purported base of operations in Uruguay and ASD’s decison not to show the ads.. It’s hard to imagine a situation more damning to ASD.

We noted above the screaming pro se claim that “”The U.S. Government has failed to produce any EVIDENCE of alleged wrongdoing.”

It also turned out that the Secret Service filed 57 pages of evidence on Aug. 1, 2008. The evidence, coupled with the affidavit, was enough to move a federal judge to order Bank of America to freeze the accounts and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to seize the money as the proceeds of an international crime.

The no-EVIDENCE-was-produced claim, however, always was disingenuous. Evidence was discussed in open court. Witnesses were cross-examined on the evidence. A judge reviewed the evidence and referred to it in public rulings.

Some funny things happened after all the public viewing and discussion about evidence: AVG launched (purportedly from an offshore venue); ASD still wasn’t showing ads; Bowdoin tried to reassert claims to money he had surrendered; and dozens of ASD members began to make clumsy, disingenuous and, in some cases, incendiary, attempts to intervene in the case by asserting the government was to blame for trying to preserve assets before they could be plundered.

Victims waiting for restitution had to wait. Some of the punters then began to tell their downlines that the government was responsible for the delays. A fantastically untrue tale was told that Bowdoin’s efforts were paying off and that the prosecution was on the verge of losing the case. Judicial orders directed at Bowdoin that instructed him to follow up on earlier pleadings were spun by strategic or ignorant punters as orders directing the prosecution to prove ASD was a Ponzi scheme or dismiss the case.

The punters were Bowdoin’s best friends — not in the sense they regularly broke bread with him or even knew him. The punters were useful to Bowdoin. Widows waiting for their money always could wait.

So, as Americans break bread today with loved ones, the PatrickPretty.com Blog extends greetings to its readers all over the world — and special greetings to our U.K. readers.

Indeed, punters is a word that will help victims of autosurf Ponzi schemes see though all the dreck and drivel and emerge gobsmacked by their newfound knowledge base. May they use it to keep themselves out of harm’s way — and, as another year ticks off the calendar, may they have many things to be thankful for in the days and years ahead.

Thank you, Readers.

Patrick

About the Author

8 Responses to “Thanksgiving Thanks For The Word ‘Punters’ . . .”

  1. Patrick, as a journalist I guess you appreciate language more than most.

    In the 1980 there was a TV series called ‘Minder’, staring the great George Cole and Dennis Waterman. It was very popular. I heard a story at the time that because it used a lot of slang, when the show was shown in the US it had to have subtitles.

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  2. Hi Tony,

    I do pay attention to words and am thankful for the opportunity readers give me to think about things. I haven’t used “punter” yet conversationally here in the United States, but I’ve trotted out “gobsmack” a few times.

    “Punter” is one of those words that creates a picture that puts people “right there.” I noticed Gregg Evans used it a few days ago, so it’s getting some penetration on this side of the pond — owing, in part, to you. :-)

    Regards.

    Patrick

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  3. Hey Patrick,

    Happy belated TG to you.

    I have always thought of punter as the British Empire’s slang for gambler or someone willing to take a risk or make a bet.

    Wikipedia does give this definition of punter.

    The word punter may refer to:

    * A British, Australian and Hiberno (Irish) English colloquial term for a paying guest or customer, especially

    o a patron of a public house
    o a patron of a brothel
    o a gambler, particularly an amateur betting on horse racing or a player in the game of Baccarat
    o a beginner skier or snowboarder, especially one with particularly bad style
    o a speculator in the stock market

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  4. I thought a punter was one of the players on a football team.

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  5. Hi d_b,

    dirty_bird: Hey Patrick,

    Happy belated TG to you.

    I have always thought of punter as the British Empire’s slang for gambler or someone willing to take a risk or make a bet.

    Wikipedia does give this definition of punter.

    The word punter may refer to:

    * A British, Australian and Hiberno (Irish) English colloquial term for a paying guest or customer, especially

    o a patron of a public house
    o a patron of a brothel
    o a gambler, particularly an amateur betting on horse racing or a player in the game of Baccarat
    o a beginner skier or snowboarder, especially one with particularly bad style
    o a speculator in the stock market

    And Happy belated Thanksgiving to you, too.

    I tried to cover your bullet points in my post this way:

    “Sometimes “punters” or “punter” are used to describe people who choose to become crime victims or people who know they’re part of an illicit scheme and later try to assume the role of victims.”

    The reason is that, when I looked up “punter” in a slang dictionary, it covered a lot of ground. The word appears to have morphed into somewhat common usage that covers a lot of ground:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=punter

    So, “punter” may mean different things to different people — and seems to me, at least, to be a good word in multiple contexts of ASD.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  6. admin: So, “punter” may mean different things to different people — and seems to me, at least, to be a good word in multiple contexts of ASD.

    Words have a habit of escaping and doing what they please. One one level, I suppose it’s a good thing or every article would read like a scientific paper.

    The one that does drive me a bit batty is the use of the word “hacker”. In my circle, a hacker is just someone who’s curious about computers and software. We experiment and explore “because it’s there”. We would never attach a laptop to insecure wireless access point since it’s illegal.

    Crackers, on the other hand by our definition, are people that get into systems because “there’s a credit card number there”. They have a criminal intent just like a safe cracker.

    The irony in computing circles is that the general public (and most of the press) defines the word hacker as someone who steals music, releases computer viruses and break into computers for nefarious purposes…while logged into an insecure wireless access point without permission.

    I guess I’ll contemplate this while having another slice of pumpkin pie.

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  7. Lynndel Edgington: I thought a punter was one of the players on a football team.

    So did I…we are sooooo out of the loop. :(

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  8. I thought a ‘cracker’ was a white person?

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