Surf’s Up Celebrates One Year As Bowdoin-Endorsed Blather Box; Forum Deletes Another Discussion About AdViewGlobal Autosurf Amid Member Complaints

A year ago yesterday these words appeared on AdSurfDaily’s Breaking News site:

“All ASD Members are encouraged to join the ASD Members Advocate forum. The ASD Members Advocate forum should be your source for up-to-the-minute opinions and commentaries about ASD. We encourage you to join and get involved. Log on to http://asdmembers.ning.com/

“Surf’s Up, Baby!”

blatherAt about the same time, the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf was preparing to set up shop — purportedly from Uruguay. The announcement by ASD that it had endorsed Surf’s Up occurred eight days after U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a devastating ruling that ASD had not demonstrated it was a lawful business and not a Ponzi scheme that had gathered tens of millions of dollars from participants, placing the money in ASD President Andy Bowdoin’s personal bank accounts.

Some of the Surf’s Up Mods went on to start a forum for AVG. That forum went missing during the summer of 2009, after AVG announced it was suspending cashouts and exercising its version of a “rebates aren’t guaranteed” clause. At first AVG, which had promoted a series of 200-percent, matching-bonus offers virtually nonstop in 2009, blamed its lack of cash on the greed of members.

It later backed away from that position, saying it had been a victim of a $2.7 million theft. George and Judy Harris were AVG’s purported owners. George Harris is Bowdoin’s stepson. Bowdoin identified Harris as the head of ASD’s “real estate division” at an ASD rally in Miami on July 12, 2008. The company reportedly gathered millions of dollars at the rally.

Less than three weeks later, the U.S. Secret Service seized 10 Bowdoin bank accounts containing a total of about $65.8 million, according to court filings. Money from two of Bowdoin’s accounts was used to start a new account at a separate bank, and more than $157,000 of the opening deposit was used to pay off the mortgage on the Tallahassee home shared by George and Judy Harris, according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors made the announcement in a forfeiture complaint filed Dec. 19, 2008, exactly one month after Collyer’s November ruling went against ASD. Regardless, AVG launched in February 2009, in the wake of two forfeiture complaints and the filing of a racketeering lawsuit against Bowdoin.

AVG spent part of the month of December 2008 gathering money from prospects and all of the month of January 2009. By March 20, 2009, AVG was announcing its bank account had been suspended because too many members had wired transactions in excess of $9,500.

At the same time, AVG also announced the resignation of Gary Talbert, its chief executive officer. In January, AVG said it had no connection to ASD, despite the fact Talbert had been an executive at ASD and filed sworn court filings in the August 2008 forfeiture case against ASD.

Even as AVG was making its series of announcements about bad financial news, promoter Shad Foss sent out an email claiming that $5,000 spent on ASD turned into $15,000 “instantly!” according to recipients of the email.

In May 2009 — on the same day the Obama administration announced a crackdown on offshore financial fraud — AVG announced it had found a new company to facilitate offshore wire transfers. The surf provided members detailed wiring instructions. Three days later, the company AVG described as a facilitator of the wire transfers issued a public denial that it had any business relationship with AVG.

AVG never addressed the denial, choosing instead to say it had removed the new wire facility it had just announced because of a breakdown in negotiations. By June 25, AVG was announcing the suspension of cashouts. The AVG forum set up by the Surf’s Up Mods then went dark, as did a forum set up by AVG itself.

AVG threatened to sue members who spoke out about the firm, saying its communications were protected by copyright laws. The surf also threatened forum members that it would contact their ISPs and file abuse reports for questioning AVG in public.

Both Surf’s Up and the AVG forum operated by some of its Mods championed the pro se pleadings of Curtis Richmond in the ASD case. Richmond was convicted of contempt of court for harassing federal judges in a separate case, and was among a number of RICO defendants in a separate lawsuit ordered to pay more than $108,000 in damages and costs for engaging in racketeering and mail fraud by nuisancing public employees with vexatious lawsuits.

Surf’s Up has a history of deleting posts from members who attempt to raise the issue of AVG. The forum’s official explanation is that it is an ASD forum, not an AVG forum, even though its Mods started the AVG forum. Some Surf’s Up members said they joined AVG because of representations made by the Mods.

A number of Surf’s Up members participated in letter-writing campaigns on Bowdoin’s behalf. Surf’s Up sent an email to members in February 2009, speaking approvingly of the campaigns.

The email endorsed a mail campaign led by “Professor” Patrick Moriarty. One month later, Moriarty was indicted on tax-fraud charges in a separate case. Research showed that he once started a nonprofit organization for a Missouri man accused of murdering a woman in cold blood and shooting a police officer four times.

Dozens of Surf’s Up members congratulated Bowdoin in March 2009, after the forum published a letter from Bowdoin. The letter said Bowdoin was reentering the ASD case as a pro se litigant, even though he had given up his claims to tens of millions of dollars in January, assuring Collyer and the prosecutors that he never intended ever to reassert the claims.

In April 2009, in their final response to a series of pro se motions from Bowdoin to reenter the case, prosecutors revealed he had signed a proffer letter in the case prior to submitting to the forfeiture in January. Bowdoin, prosecutors said, had admitted ASD was operating illegally at the time of the August 2008 seizure and that the company made up numbers in a bid to keep new money flowing into the firm.

Regardless, some Surf’s Up members continued to shill for Bowdoin. His critics were referred to as “Rats, Bed Bugs, Maggots, Cockroaches And Everything Else.”

One Surf’s Up poster called for members to form a militia and take up arms against the government.

In the fall of 2008 and thereafter, Surf’s Up perpetuated a myth that the government had admitted privately that ASD was not a Ponzi scheme. The claim, which was cited on both the forum and in emails, sustained itself even through the summer of 2009.

Even after the government filed a second forfeiture complaint in December 2008 that accused ASD of operating a Ponzi scheme, Surf’s Up and some of its members continued to insist that prosecutors had said ASD was not a Ponzi scheme and were filing reckless motions in a bid to save face.

Surf’s Up has not sought to dispel the myth — and a year into its tenure as a Bowdoin-endorsed blather shop, members have raised questions about why it is improper to discuss AdViewGlobal.

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One Response to “Surf’s Up Celebrates One Year As Bowdoin-Endorsed Blather Box; Forum Deletes Another Discussion About AdViewGlobal Autosurf Amid Member Complaints”

  1. What is truly amazing to me is they keep deleting posts about Andy being a liar, a crook, a theif, a conman, ASD being illegal, or if you even whisper about AVGA; as they seem to think by doing so they are still relevant. Talk about living in Fantasy Land.

    Their forum is no longer relevant to anything except for the few lone holdouts who still believe the evil government is responsible for their mess instead of Andy, and still don’t understand what ASD was truly about.

    All the big supporters that ASD was legal have all disappeared. I am just surprised they have not shut it down.

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