REPORT: Feds Open Inquiry Into Allen Stanford’s Political Donations; Committee To Which Andy Bowdoin Donated Money Again Makes News In Ponzi Probe

The Justice Department has opened a probe into the political donations of R. Allen Stanford, according to the Miami Herald.

Stanford is jailed in Texas amid allegations he presided over a $7 billion Ponzi scheme on the Caribbean island nation of Antigua.

Among the first names to surface were the names of the National Republican Congressional  Committee (NRCC) and its chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. The names of Democratic politicians also have surfaced, according to the newspaper.

NRCC is the organization to which AdSurfDaily President Andy Bowdoin — himself implicated in a Ponzi scheme by the Justice Department — donated money in 2007 and 2008 as the purported head of two companies and received the Congressional “Medal of Distinction.”

Despite its important-sounding name, the medal is part of an NRCC marketing plan and signifies only an individual’s ability to write a check for what amounts to the purchase of banquet tickets.

In a story apt to embarrass Sessions and others, the Miami newspaper reported yesterday that, on Feb. 17, the date Stanford was indicted, Sessions sent an email to Stanford.

“I love you and believe in you,” the newspaper quoted Sessions as writing. “If you want my ear/voice — e-mail.”

Today the newspaper reported that Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., traveled to Venezuela in 2006 after Stanford asked him to carry a message to President Hugo Chávez.

Stanford was concerned that a former employee in Venezuela who had been accused of fraud was questioning whether Stanford’s operation itself was a fraud, the newspaper reported. A year after Meeks carried the message to Chavez, the Stanford employee was indicted by Venezuelan prosecutors and charged with swindling money.

The story raises questions about whether Meeks’ purported intercession with Chavez might have helped Stanford delay the inevitable exposure of the alleged Ponzi scheme and whether he was relying on politicians to run interference for him prior to the exposure of the scheme.

Stanford’s empire, which prosecutors and regulators said was a Ponzi scheme propped up by Certificates of Deposit that paid above-market rates and lured investors into unsafe, uninsured offshore banking instruments, collapsed less than two months after the Bernard Madoff Ponzi collapsed in December 2008.

Meeks traveled to Venezuela in April 2006, according to the newspaper.

The extent of prosecutors’ interest in linking Ponzi money to politics and determining if corrupt money influenced votes and policy is unclear. At a minimum, however, prosecutors are known to have peeled back layers of the onion in Florida.

In an announcement dripping with the word “co-conspirators” last month, Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman of the Southern District of Florida, the FBI and the IRS said that money from disbarred Florida attorney Scott Rothstein’s alleged Ponzi scheme was “used to make contributions to federal, state, and local political candidates.”

In the Rothstein case, investigators are seeking to determine if the scheme existed in part as a means to evade campaign-finance laws. Rothstein Ponzi money also was used “to provide gratuities to high ranking members of police agencies,” officials said.

In August 2008, prosecutors said that ASD’s Bowdoin had donated money to NRCC and that ASD members claimed the “Medal of Distinction” Bowdoin received for the donations was an important award from the White House.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that Bowdoin gave money to NRCC and claimed to be the owner of two companies: AdSurfDaily and AdSalesDaily.

On Feb. 27, 2007, the Federal Election Commission recorded a $250 donation from “Mr. T. Bowdoin” in the name of “AdSalesDaily Inc.” The FEC recorded another $250 donation from “Mr. T. Bowdoin” in the name of “AdSalesDaily Inc.” on March 27, 2007.

Screen shot of Federal Election Commission record showing 'Mr. T. Bowdoin' was the 'owner' of 'Adsalesdaily, Inc' and made a political donation under that name in 2007.

Both 2007 donations were targeted to NRCC and used an address — 13 S. Calhoun Street, Quincy, FL 32351 — federal prosecutors later said was bogus.

Although the donations listed Bowdoin as the “owner” of Florida-based AdSalesDaily Inc., the corporation appears not to have been registered in Florida. Records in Georgia list “Ad Sales Daily, Inc.” as a corporation that initially was registered in Georgia May 8, 2007, more than two months after Bowdoin identified himself as the owner in federal campaign records.

The Georgia entity does not list Bowdoin as an owner, officer or filer for the corporation — or as a person involved in any capacity. Rather, “Ad Sales Daily, Inc.” is listed as a Delaware foreign corporation, with J. Heardy Myers listed as the corporate filer and Myers (of Marietta, Ga.) and Otis Whitcomb (also of Marietta) listed as officers.

AdSalesDaily Inc. was incorporated in Delaware on March 22, 2007, about 24 days after Bowdoin made his initial NRCC donation, according to filings.

FEC records show that Bowdoin — under the name of “Mr. T. Andy Bowdoin, Jr” and “AdSurfDaily Inc. and AdSurfsDaily Inc.” (the second “s” is an apparent typo)  — gave $5,000 to NRCC in 2008. Two donations of $2,500 were recorded — one on June 6, 2008, and another on July 7, 2008.

Even as the FEC was recording the donation on July 7, undercover agents from an IRS/Secret Service task force based in Florida were beginning to scrutinize ASD.

Bowdoin has a tie to a bank in Antigua, although it is unclear whether the tie is to a bank controlled by Stanford because Bowdoin has not identified the bank. Prosecutors, however, said ASD had $1 million on deposit in Antigua in an account under a different name.

Records suggest that the alleged Bowdoin Ponzi scheme might have operated under as many as four names dating back to early 2006: DailyProSurf, AdSurfDaily, AdSalesDaily and ASDCashGenerator.

Litigation surrounding tens of millions of dollars seized from ASD in August 2008 has turned into Theater of the Absurd, with dozens of pro-se litigants attempting to enter the legal skirmish between the Justice Department and Bowdoin.

One of the great mysteries of the case is why Bowdoin suddenly started donating money to NRCC in 2007 — during a time in which the company was not making payments to members and said it needed to issue a stock offering in which shares would be sold for $10,000 to raise funds.

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3 Responses to “REPORT: Feds Open Inquiry Into Allen Stanford’s Political Donations; Committee To Which Andy Bowdoin Donated Money Again Makes News In Ponzi Probe”

  1. Hm, so does this mean that Republicans like donations from criminals? Perhaps that is why our friend Mr. Guenther so loudly espouses his status as a staunch Republican. Perhaps birds of a feather are flocking. He is a flocking Republican!

  2. Don, I don’t know if I would be bashing Republicans at the time that the demoncrats are trashing the American way of life. Maybe you should ask Hillary about investing and Al Gore how you can make millions off of a scam theory or how about Ben Nelson on how to sell his vote and lose his soul.

  3. Rick, both parties have screwed things up in this country. Neither party is without guilt or blame. However, it’s time they BOTH returned to representing the people, the ones who elected them. I’m all for term limits, and a return to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Things started going downhill right after Woodrow Wilson … Or was it Hoover. I forget.