THE DAY ‘WINK-NOD’ DIED: Use Of ‘Money Magnet’ Line, ‘Rallies,’ ‘Ad Packages’ And ‘Rebates’ Backfires On Bowdoin; Grand Jury Uses Terms Repeatedly In Indictment; Prosecution Has Damning ASD Correspondence

Thomas A. "Andy" Bowdoin

History was made yesterday. “Wink-nod” marketing deceptions  — the use of disingenuous language supplemented by willful blindness in the cancerous autosurf and HYIP trades to create plausible deniability — were pronounced dead by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia.

Members of the insidious trade can thank ASD President Andy Bowdoin for the much-anticipated pronouncement.

The grand jury, which began meeting in May 2009 and returned an indictment against Bowdoin that was unsealed yesterday, repeatedly referred to Bowdoin’s alleged wink-nod wordplay and incongruous claims to hide his massive international Ponzi scheme.

Want to position yourself as a man of God from a stage in Las Vegas (or in any city or home office) and tell your audience that you are a “money magnet” — and then plant the seed that audience members can become “money magnets” just like you if they turn over their cash to you?

It’s time for autosurf purveyors to anticipate that a grand jury just might have something to say about it on a time and date uncertain. Bowdoin’s grand jury handed him back his “money-magnet” line repeatedly. Federal agents arrested Bowdoin yesterday in Florida. His booking and bail status still are unclear hours after his arrest. The government previously argued that Bowdoin was a flight risk who had moved money offshore and now says he faces up to 125 years in federal prison.

And what if you’re an autosurf aficionado and want to use wordplay to tell the troops that they’re not purchasing an investment in the form of an unregistered security — but instead are purchasing “advertising” in the form of “ad packages” (or a similar phrase) you’ve concocted to mask the nature of your “program?”

Well, the grand jury had an answer for that one, too: Charge the fraudster with felonies.

Want to tell the troops that your “program” has passed muster with the SEC and does not need to concern itself with registering when the claims are untrue? The grand jury had an answer for that one, too: Charge the fraudster with felonies.

Among the grand jury’s conclusions was that Bowdoin, who’d previously been charged twice with securities offenses and modeled ASD after the 12DailyPro securities, fraud and Ponzi scheme, was blowing smoke to tens of thousands of people at a time.

KABOOM! “Wink-nod” was blown to bits yesterday.

Want to create an incongruous condition in which people are standing in line for hours at “rallies” to purchase “ad packages” that pay “rebates” of up to 150 percent and an “instant bonus” on top of the “rebates” just for signing up?

The grand jury had an answer for that one, too: Charge the fraudster with felonies.

Want to counsel members on how they should refer to the “program” and what words to avoid when presenting the “program” to others? Want to be like Bowdoin and send an email that says, “[L]et’s don’t (sic) use the words investment and returns. Instead, lets (sic) use ad sales and surfing commissions. The Attorney Generals in the U.S. don’t like for us to use these words in our program?”

The grand jury had an answer for that one, too: Charge the fraudster with felonies.

KABOOM! “Wink-nod” was blown to bits yesterday.

Will autosurf forum life ever be the same? Not a chance, except among a core group of serial criminals. The grand jury signed off on a document that neatly exposes “wink-nod.” The next time a forum “expert” cautions posters not to call a surf program an investment, autosurf critics can point out that Bowdoin said the same thing — and that his words got him indicted.

At the very same Saturday “rally” in Las Vegas at which Bowdoin called himself a “money magnet” and encouraged others to become “money magnets” by giving him their cash, Bowdoin implored members not to miss a fabulous opportunity to hand him a virtually unlimited sum in the final hours before the company would enforce a $50,000 “cap” beginning on Monday, according to the grand jury.

Handing him any more than $50,000 beyond Monday might bring out the regulators, Bowdoin ventured, pointing out that “there are so many people that want to come in now and want to purchase two hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, half a million and a million dollars . . .”

The grand jury pointed out that Bowdoin, incongruously, was selling advertising to people who did not even own businesses to advertise in the ASD “rotator.”

After observing any number of incongruities associated with ASD and its use of wordplay to skirt securities laws, the grand jury had a message for the whole of the autosurf and HYIP worlds: Charge the fraudsters will felonies.

It was the beginning of the end for wink-nod promoters — and it occurred in no small measure due to the efforts of the U.S. Secret Service, an agency Bowdoin and his apologists compared to “Nazis” and “Satan” after telling a Las Vegas crowd to plunk down unlimited sums on Saturday because he was lowering the limit to $50,000 on Monday.

Bowdoin’s theory behind enforcing a cap was that $50,000 might be a low enough sum to keep ASD under the radar, according to the grand jury.

Only in the incongruous world of the autosurf could someone sell himself on the notion that limiting purchases to $50,000 on Monday somehow created a safety buffer for others who plunked down higher sums two days earlier. Only in the incongruous world of the autosurf could someone instruct members to “act fast” and plunk down more than $50,000 on Saturday because the safety buffer would be enforced two days later.

And wink-nod also began its race to the Internet graveyard in no small measure due to the efforts of William Cowden, now in private practice — but once a federal prosecutor and the chief of the Asset Forfeiture Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia.

Cowden was the man some ASD members loved to hate. They called him “Gomer Pyle” on the pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum. They called him a “goon.” They called him “Crowden.” They called him “Cow-dung.” They called for a “militia” to storm Washington. They said Cowden should be placed in a torture rack. They “prayed” for God to strike Cowden and other federal prosecutors dead.

And then they called themselves Christians.

In the months that followed, the Secret Service, Cowden and others at the Justice Department set the stage for the complicated nature of autosurfs and HYIPs to be both understood and rejected by a grand jury that assessed ASD’s wordplay and the sea of incongruities and decided that felonious self-indulgence needed to be dealt with by returning felony indictments and destroying wink-nod.

Indeed, history was made yesterday. It was the day “wink-nod” died, the day the music died for  “money magnets” and autosurf scammers on stage and in home offices and online forums everywhere.

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One Response to “THE DAY ‘WINK-NOD’ DIED: Use Of ‘Money Magnet’ Line, ‘Rallies,’ ‘Ad Packages’ And ‘Rebates’ Backfires On Bowdoin; Grand Jury Uses Terms Repeatedly In Indictment; Prosecution Has Damning ASD Correspondence”

  1. The posterior of the serial promoters puckered when the Secret Service moved with lightning speed to shut down this scam. It was raided less than a month after it was reported. Traditionally, by the time agencies moved in to shut down a scam, most of the money was “gone” (offshore or otherwise) and months or years have passed.

    In this case, the government alleges that ASD took in $110 million or so and they have recovered a rather large percentage (well over 50%) of those funds. Let’s hope the victims get a larger percentage back than usual AND they learn their lesson.

    Personally, I believe the amounts of money pulled during the rallies got the govs attention and the possible money laundering concerns caused them to move quicker than normal. Let’s hope this becomes the norm. There was never a snowball’s change in Death Valley that any aspect of this “program” was legal. As alleged, it was just 12 Daily Pro warmed over. The same playas seem to show in all of these scams even though the “owner” may change.