Georgia Fraud Case Had ASD-Like Elements; Woman Sentenced To 60 Years For Scheme; Cynthia O’Tyson Was Recidivist Offender; TV Camera Captures Sentencing
A Georgia woman with a history of stealing and being placed on probation after serving short stints in custody now has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Cynthia O’Tyson’s sentencing was captured in Superior Court by WRDW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Augusta. The station led its 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts yesterday with reports about the sentencing, noting that O’Tyson had scammed friends and members of her own family and community into believing she was a supplier of discount electronics.
Meanwhile, the Augusta Chronicle reported that O’Tyson even had scammed the families of local officials and used members of her church and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce to give the scheme an air of legitimacy.
The O’Tyson scheme was reminiscent of the alleged AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme in Florida. Federal prosecutors said ASD President Andy Bowdoin traded on religion. On July 2, 2008, Bowdoin, who was implicated in securities swindles in Alabama during the 1990s and also had a business partner implicated in a separate swindle during the 1990s, addressed the Gadsden County Chamber of Commerce.
Initially pleased that ASD, which positioned itself as a jobs-creator and economic turbine, had chosen the struggling small town of Quincy, Fla., as its home, the Chamber touted ASD and the company.
But the Chamber later called the FBI when questions were raised about Bowdoin’s purported “advertising” firm, according to federal court records. The U.S. Secret Service later described ASD as a massive Ponzi scheme that had gathered at least $110 million. Bowdoin described himself as a “money magnet” and asked members to imagine ASD profits just “flowing” to them after purchasing “ad packs” from the company and committing themselves to have an “attitude of gratitude” with God.
O’Tyson’s scheme also was reminiscent of the much-larger scheme operated in Minnesota by convicted Ponzi swindler Tom Petters. Petters’ investors believed he sold discount merchandise to Big Box retailers.
Although Petters’ crime was much larger than O’Tyson’s merchandise scam, he was sentenced to 10 years fewer than the Georgia woman. O’Tyson called her bogus company “Wholesale Liquidators.”
See the O’Tyson report (video/print) on WRDW-TV.
Read the O’Tyson sentencing story in the Augusta Chronicle.