UPDATE: Robert Hodgins Still Wanted By Interpol; Co-Defendant In Narcotics Probe With Link To AdSurfDaily Case Sentenced To Prison; Colombian Drug Business Used Same Debit Card As ASD

Robert Hodgins of Dallas-based Virtual Money Inc. is wanted by Interpol in an international money-laundering case that allegedly involves proceeds from the sale of narcotics. Virtual Money Inc.'s name is referenced in the AdSurfDaily autosurf Ponzi scheme case brought by the U.S. Secret Service and the PhoenixSurf autosurf Ponzi scheme case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The case against VM and Hodgins was brought by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS. PHOTO SOURCE: Interpol.

A Colombian national implicated in an international conspiracy to launder drug money has been sentenced to 45 months in prison, federal prosecutors announced.

Meanwhile, another figure in the alleged scheme — Robert Hodgins, the operator of Dallas-based Virtual Money Inc. (VM) — remains at large, prosecutors said. Hodgins is wanted by Interpol on a warrant issued by a federal judge in Connecticut.

Hodgins is Canadian by birth and lived in the Oklahoma City area of the United States, according to records.

VM’s name is referenced in the forfeiture allegations in the AdSurfDaily autosurf Ponzi scheme case brought by the U.S. Secret Service in the District of Columbia in August 2008. It also is referenced in the PhoenixSurf Ponzi prosecution brought by the SEC in Los Angeles in July 2007.

Juan Merlano Salazar, 36, of Medellin, Colombia, was sentenced to 45 months Aug. 9 by U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz of the District of Connecticut. Salazar is among five defendants convicted so far in the money-laundering case, which allegedly involved the use of debit cards provided by VM to launder drug proceeds at ATMs in Colombia, according to court filings.

Hodgins also is alleged to have accepted $100,000 to launder drug proceeds in the Dominican Republic.

The Colombian narco business used “stored value cards” to enable drug proceeds to be withdrawn from banks in Medellin as Colombian pesos, prosecutors said.

Medellin was home base to the late drug lord Pablo Escobar.

In August 2009, the PP Blog reported that VM’s name appeared in advertising materials for ASD in 2007. Records suggest that Hodgins or a VM designate attended an ASD function in Orlando in November 2006, about a month after ASD began its rollout.

This 2007 ad for ASD promoted the VM debit card.

Some ASD members have said they observed large sums of cash and briefcases full of cashiers’ checks at ASD “rallies” in U.S. cities in the spring and summer of 2008, which led to questions about whether ASD was laundering money for a drug cartel and international criminals.

If the allegations against VM and Hodgins are true, it means the company that provided the debit cards ASD used was in the business of laundering money for at least one international narco business.

On Aug. 1, 2008, the U.S. Secret Service seized more than $80 million in the ASD case. The money allegedly was tied to at least three autosurfs: ASD, GoldenPandaAdBuilder and LaFuenteDinero.

ASD, which had operated under at least one other name and perhaps as many as three or more, claimed in 2007 that one of the reasons it could not make payments to members was that $1 million had been stolen by “Russian” hackers.

Prosecutors said ASD never filed a police report — not even to report the theft of a huge sum of money. ASD instead relaunched as ASD Cash Generator. By the summer of 2008, it was gathering tens of millions of dollars per week.

One bank account in the name of ASD President Andy Bowdoin seized by the Secret Service contained more than $31 million, according to court filings. Another account in Bowdoin’s name contained more than $23 million. Bowdoin was referenced as the “Sole Proprietor” of the accounts.

All in all, the Secret Service seized more than $65.8 million from 10 Bowdoin bank accounts, and more than $14 million from at least five bank accounts linked to Golden Panda, according to records.

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8 Responses to “UPDATE: Robert Hodgins Still Wanted By Interpol; Co-Defendant In Narcotics Probe With Link To AdSurfDaily Case Sentenced To Prison; Colombian Drug Business Used Same Debit Card As ASD”

  1. Sorry to kick up an old story but this is relevant:
    Prepaid cards attract money launderers
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110522/ap_on_re_us/lt_plastic_money_laundering

    A safer and increasingly attractive alternative for today’s criminal is electronic cash loaded on what are called stored-value or prepaid cards. Getting them doesn’t require a bank account, and many types can be used anonymously.

    [snip]

    In one of the first cases to clue law enforcement to the threat, a Dallas-based company called Virtual Money Inc. provided the cards to crews who helped Colombian drug traffickers move at least $7 million to Medellin during three months in 2006, prosecutors say.

    These “pre-paid” cards are a favourite of the ponzi operators.

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  2. Very interesting read, Tony. Thank you.

    Patrick

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  3. Does anyone even care that this man had nothing to do with any of this. This ruined this mans life for no reason!!!!! I think that there are far more important things to discuss then this irrelevant issue. It’s 2014 and he’s been released of all charges. Trust me this is from an inside source. Say what you want but this website will be taken down. You are slandering an innocent man and ruining his life so back off!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Guess he shouldn’t have gotten involved then. court documents only to prove your assertions please. thanks.

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