Madoff Confessed Ponzi Scheme Year Ago Today; AdViewGlobal Prepared Ponzi Roll-Out Even As Stunned Public Watched Madoff Spectacle Unfold

Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff

One year ago today Bernard Madoff uttered a memorable phrase, describing his securities business economically as “one big lie” — and his Ponzi house of cards came tumbling down.

Even as Madoff was uttering those three words to his sons and the FBI soon was to knock on his door, the insiders behind the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf were busy putting together and getting ready to promote their own Ponzi scheme. For many, it would be their second — and they’d be greasing the wheels of their new Ponzi even as virtually the entire world was jeering Madoff and New Yorkers were demanding justice on the streets.

Hundreds and hundreds of AVG promoters appear to have been slow on the Ponzi uptake, ignoring the lesson of instant villainy the Madoff case provided and seriously misreading their ability to repackage a Ponzi scheme and sell it all over again.

Madoff was arrested Dec. 11, within 24 hours of confessing “one big lie.”  His arrest amid allegations of a $50 billion Ponzi fraud created a media spectacle. The crime was unimaginably huge. In the hours and days that followed, personal, corporate and charitable fortunes collapsed. The word “Ponzi”  instantly became associated with greed, criminality and reprehensible acts, and was burned into the public consciousness like never before.

One place it was not used was the Unemployable Hobo Lifestyle Forum. There is a mention of the soon-to-launch AVG dated Dec. 13, 2008, two days after the arrest of Madoff, but no simultaneous reference to Madoff or the word “Ponzi.”

“Call me if you [don’t] have [a] leader,” said Mark Simmons, the head of the forum and a witness in the Ponzi scheme case involving AdSurfDaily, a company with close ties to AVG. The headline of the thread was, “for those waiting on ADVIEWGLOBAL.”

In the autosurf Ponzi business, the word “leader” is used to describe the people who make the most money by lining up sheep and leading them to the slaughter. In the months prior to the launch of AVG, the “leaders” had led sheep to the slaughter in ASD, Golden Panda Ad Builder, LaFuenteDinero (the “fountain of money”), MegaLido, Instant2U, Frogress, DailyProfitPond, AdGateWorld, BizAdSplash and Noobing, among others.

The leaders still are leading the sheep to slaughter on various HYIP and autosurf Ponzi forums — even with Madoff serving a prison sentence of 150 years. They get paid a commission of 10 percent or more for leading people to the slaughter.

Another reference to AVG appeared on Simmons’ forum Dec. 18, exactly a week after Madoff’s arrest. Some autosurf critics say the leaders are “out of touch.” Others use less-generous phrases to describe them, painting the “leaders” as the purveyors of “Kool-Aid” for consumption by the sheep.

Some of the sheep sign up to be slaughtered over and over again. They’re sometimes also known as the “Stepfords.”

“Our specific [AVG] group will have some additional perks that will not be tied to this and will allow you to grow exponentially and outpace everyone,” Simmons said Dec. 18 on his forum. The headline of the thread was, “STAY TUNED FOR ADVIEWGLOBAL.”

Simmons was a former member of the AdSurfDaily autosurf, which was caught up in pre-Madoff allegations that it was a $100 million Ponzi scheme. The ASD allegations were made in August 2008, about four months before Madoff’s name and “Ponzi scheme” became household words. Simmons’ name was on ASD’s witness list for an evidentiary hearing held Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2008.

He never was called to the stand. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled Nov. 19, 2008, that ASD had not demonstrated it was a lawful business and not a Ponzi scheme. ASD had operated from the United States. Within days of the devastating ruling against ASD, word began to spread that AVG would launch and become a sort of ASD2 — only operating “offshore” from Uruguay and out the reach of U.S. authorities

Collyer is apt to remember the ASD case for many reasons. The key ruling she made against ASD was issued on her 63rd birthday, for example.

In the months that followed, Collyer would hear from dozens of pro se litigants who appeared to be arguing in favor of a presumptive right to operate or participate in a Ponzi scheme with no interference by the government.

AVG’s formal launch occurred in February 2009, less than two months after the Dec. 13 reference on Simmons’ forum, less than two months after the spectacular Ponzi allegations against Madoff surfaced.

But the autosurf’s days of having a tin ear for news and PR were far from over. Indeed, the surf that launched in the midst of the public hue and cry over Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and in the wake of Ponzi and racketeering allegations against ASD, went on to demonstrate for all time that it considered greed a virtue.

On May 4, the same day the Obama administration announced a crackdown on offshore fraud carried out by Americans, AVG announced it had acquired a new offshore wire facility to replace one lost in March.

“I’m asking Congress to pass some commonsense [antifraud] measures,” Obama told the American people at 11:37 a.m. on May 4.  At 5:44 p.m., a member of an AVG forum operated by some of the Mods and members of the Pro-AdSurfDaily Surf’s Up forum announced the new offshore wire facility.

AVG collapsed less than two months later, on June 24. Five days later, on June 29, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. One day after that, on June 30, AVG’s name was mentioned in a racketeering lawsuit filed against ASD President Andy Bowdoin and ASD attorney Robert Garner.

Some of the autosurf leaders are still leading on Internet forums, but Simmons’ Unemployable Hobo forum appears not to have had an update on any online program since September

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2 Responses to “Madoff Confessed Ponzi Scheme Year Ago Today; AdViewGlobal Prepared Ponzi Roll-Out Even As Stunned Public Watched Madoff Spectacle Unfold”

  1. Charities still stung by Madoff scandal year later

  2. Fund manager accused of cheating investors of $133M pleads guilty to fraud charges

    On the anniversary of the arrest of Ponzi king Bernard Madoff, a fund manager whose customers became spooked by Madoff’s arrest and asked to retrieve their own money pleaded guilty to fraud charges in a scheme the government says cost investors $133 million.

    James Nicholson, 43, of Saddle River, N.J., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud and mail fraud in what prosecutors said was a Ponzi scheme of his own.