PROSECUTION BOMBSHELL: Accused Ponzi Schemer Andy Bowdoin Traveled To Costa Rica In 2008 To Explore Option For Offshore ‘Autosurf’ Firm; AdSurfDaily’s Internal Software System Identified Member Payouts As ‘ROI,’ Despite ASD Claim It Was Not Offering Investments

Andy Bowdoin

BULLETIN: UPDATED 9:29 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) Prosecutors have advised a federal judge that AdSurfDaily President Andy Bowdoin and unnamed “others” traveled to Costa Rica in the spring of 2008 to get the lay of the land for an offshore autosurf that would be “another version” of ASD.

The alleged trip occurred less than two years after the SEC accused 12DailyPro, an autosurf based in North Carolina, of selling unregistered securities in the form of investment contracts, prosecutors said.

The explosive claim Bowdoin ventured offshore to pursue the creation of an ASD satellite may signal that the government views ASD not only as a Ponzi scheme, but as a business that deliberately sought to dial up its efforts to circumvent U.S. laws and create an even greater Ponzi war chest by establishing a footprint outside the United States.

Since at least February 2006, the SEC has described the autosurf business model as anathema and a form of obvious securities fraud. Bowdoin was well aware of the SEC lawsuits and scrutiny domestic autosurfs such as 12DailyPro, PhoenixSurf and CEP had sparked in 2006 and 2007, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, investigators have evidence that shows ASD’s internal software system described payments to members as “ROI,” an acronym that that means “return on investment,” prosecutors said.

The assertions by prosecutors — if proven true — may undermine ASD’s defense strategy of arguing it was an “advertising” program, not an “investment” program.

Prosecutors did not identify by name the surf allegedly contemplated for Costa Rica. In late 2008 and early 2009, a surf with close ASD ties known as AdViewGlobal (AVG) debuted. The launch occurred about four to five months after the U.S. Secret Service seized $65.8 million from the personal bank accounts of Bowdoin in August 2008.

Bowdoin’s trip to Costa Rica occurred before the ASD seizure, prosecutors said. If true, the claim could be used to prove ASD was seeking an exit plan even before the Secret Service raid. In 2008, prosecutors asserted that Bowdoin had moved millions of dollars offshore and talked about purchasing a home in another country.

AVG purported to operate from Uruguay, but had servers that resolved to Panama. Some ASD members have said Bowdoin was a silent partner in AVG.

Prosecutors described the “ROI” development as just another ASD incongruity, advising U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer that Bowdoin was well aware that a serious securities challenge could be made against his firm and chose to ignore the risk and misinform members.

Beginning as early as January 2007, “[O]thers warned Bowdoin that ASD was nothing more than an investment scheme and that the program needed to be changed if it were to operate legally,” prosecutors argued in a brief to Collyer. “Bowdoin did not heed that advice and continued unabated in offering members higher returns than banks or brokerage firms. Moreover, based on his prior criminal experience, Bowdoin was well aware of the securities regulations and knew he was offering a security.”

Any argument that ASD was not offering “investment contracts” as defined under the Howey Test should be dismissed, prosecutors said, arguing that ASD meets all three prongs of the Howey Test.

Bowdoin sought about three weeks ago to have the criminal charges filed against him dismissed, arguing that ASD met none of the three Howey prongs.

Nonsense, prosecutors said.

ASD’s advertising was “merely a cover for Bowdoin’s sale of a get rich quick scheme,” prosecutors said.

And prosecutors also cited other alleged proof that ASD was running an investment program — namely that some employees were being paid in ASD “ad packs.”

“Bowdoin and the employees of ASD treated the ‘ad packages’ as shares from which they could expect to earn returns,” prosecutors argued.

Prosecutors also pointed out a section of ASD’s Terms of Service that stated the firm “will” pay members 125 percent of the money they paid in. At the same time, prosecutors quoted video evidence of Bowdoin wooing members by focusing on ASD as a money-making opportunity.

Bowdoin, prosecutors said, eventually limited the amount of money investors could pay ASD “because he did not want any one member dominating the return pool.”

The prosecution’s assertions occurred against the backdrop of dozens of competing claims by ASD members who filed pro-se pleadings in the civil portion of the case that asserted the government had no “EVIDENCE.”

Members made the claim despite the fact that some of the evidence against ASD had been part of the public record for more than a year at the time the claims were made in 2009.

In a footnote to Collyer, prosecutors said they’d be happy to present the actual video of Bowdoin making various claims instead of simply quoting from a transcript.

“[T]he government’s review of ASD’s bank records revealed that of the approximately $31 million ASD paid out to early members, more than 98% of that money came from monies paid to ASD by other members,” prosecutors said.

Although ASD claimed to have funding sources beyond advertising payments made by members  — things such as banner ad sales and ebooks  — those outlets provided only de minimis revenue, prosecutors argued.

“Each night, there was nothing more than new members funds to divide among existing members,” prosecutors argued. “Moreover, Bowdoin himself admitted, on video, that members funds are pooled and they will share in the profits and losses equally.

“Specifically, Bowdoin, in the ‘New Member Success Video,’ claimed that “[w]hen sales increase, the rebates increase. When sales decrease the rebates decrease . . .”

“Clearly Bowdoin, through ASD, was pooling all of the member’s funds which allowed him to make the requisite return payments,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also argued that the ASD case should remain in Collyer’s courtroom in the District of Columbia. Bowdoin argued that the case should be transferred to Florida, in part because he and many witness live there.

Although prosecutors agreed that many prospective witnesses live in Florida, they argued that witnesses reside in multiple jurisdictions because of the national and international scope of the case.

In addition to Floridians, witnesses the government may present hail from the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, Iowa and  elsewhere, prosecutors asserted.

ASD also had members from at least 18 countries, and conducted “rallies”  in Illinois and Minnesota, among other states, prosecutors said.

Read Bowdoin’s claims that the charges against him should be dismissed and that ASD did not meet any of the three Howey Test prongs.

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14 Responses to “PROSECUTION BOMBSHELL: Accused Ponzi Schemer Andy Bowdoin Traveled To Costa Rica In 2008 To Explore Option For Offshore ‘Autosurf’ Firm; AdSurfDaily’s Internal Software System Identified Member Payouts As ‘ROI,’ Despite ASD Claim It Was Not Offering Investments”

  1. I had a good laugh reading the US Attorney’s response to these motions. I may be mistaken to think that Andy’s lawyers were able to defend him, it sure looks like Andy is once again his own worst enemy.

    I look forward to what Judge Collyer has to say.

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  2. This doesn’t surprise me what the Feds uncovered. Will be interesting what Andy’s response will be because everyone knows he’s going to have one. Of course he still doesn’t think he should go to jail……..LOL

    Now hopefully the Feds will give us some news about Mara Greenway, Vee Fuerhoff, Terry Hinkle, etc. and their GMS scam. Greenway is the one I’d worry about most, because she has ties to Germany and traveled there many times(on members money no doubt) in the 1-1/2 yrs their scam was running.

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  3. While Andy’s trip to Costa Rica may have been a bombshell to many, you have not seen “nothin” yet. This is just the tip of the iceberg. When this trial starts you will be shocked, surprised, amazed and in disbelief of what will be exposed. For the “real” Andy is going to be exposed for who he really is and has been all along.

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  4. Lisa: Now hopefully the Feds will give us some news about Mara Greenway, Vee Fuerhoff, Terry Hinkle, etc. and their GMS scam. Greenway is the one I’d worry about most, because she has ties to Germany and traveled there many times(on members money no doubt) in the 1-1/2 yrs their scam was running.

    With respect, Lisa,

    Do you know, with absolute certainty that any of the people you mention even exist in real life ???

    How do you know they aren’t merely “identities” as fictional as the “autosurf” they supposedly represented ????

    Have you met any of them face to face or seen a birth certificate or drivers’ license ????

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  5. LRM: In this case, those are their real names. Mara and Vee are the twins of MrsVIP-Vlane fame abd GMS Ponzi, and Terry was one of their major shills. They had a couple other shills as well as mods who gave them cover for a long time; and for that matter still are. This is not Mara and Vee’s first rodeo either. They used to do business with Broker Jones, as well as Ken Russo if I am not mistaken. Those two say it all.

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  6. Check out this photo of the GMS staff outside Mara’s place in Marco Island, FL.

    http://path2prosperity.com/VL-Staff.jpg

    In the 1st pic, the one in the red with the “Duh” expression on her face is Mrs. Smith
    next to her in the brown tank top is SuzyQ
    next to her is with the dark hair wearing a white blouse over red is Vee Fuerhoff
    then comes Terry Hinkle
    and in pale green Mara Greenway.
    Back row in white is Mara’s daughter Patricia Bonte
    next to her with the blond spike is Bryant
    the guy is Stephen Decatur
    and the one in pink is Simster.

    The GMS Forum has been taken offline since Thursday.

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  7. Aren’t you glad you entrusted your money to this group? They look like investment experts to me, how about you? I have to wonder how many people would have sent them their money if they had seen this picture first?

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  8. While not wanting to appear in any way to be taking pleasure from the fact people have been swindled or to be seen as discouraging them from filing complaints with the relevant authorities, can I suggest a little reality check wouldn’t go astray at this point ???

    Let’s suspend belief for just a minute and imagine the FBI/SEC/FTC/IRS decided to appoint their best brightest investigator to investigate the Mrs VIP / GSM / Vlane HYIPs.

    Will it be cost efficient ???
    How much was actually lost by “innocent” investors ?? Will the usual suspect players co operate ? Will the unregistered payment processors co operate ? Are there any funds remaining to confiscate ?

    What do we “really” have as proof??? Real names ?? Addresses ? Company documents ? Were there any records kept ? How many complaints were made ?

    What are the chances of obtaining conviction/s ?? Were the servers onshore in the US ? Who actually did what to whom ?

    Whose interest is served by committing time, money and resources chasing down relatively smalltime frauds such as these, when many/most of those defrauded (as in: those from TG, MMG, ASA and the like) went in willingly and with their eyes wide open in the first place ???

    Am I supporting HYIP ponzi fraud ? – no-bloody-way

    Am I suggesting people do nothing ? not-on-your-life

    Do I think the fraudsters deserve to have the soles of their feet beaten with sharp sticks and their noses pulled off ? ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY

    Unfortunately, reality tells me the agencies involved are overworked, underfunded and understaffed and their masters have decided there is more political mileage to be gained by focusing attention and resources on the “war on terror” than there is in catching home grown low life criminals.

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  9. LOL,with the above ground pool, cheezy canopy and ice chest, all they need is a coupleof ’69 Chevy seats for lawn chairs to get featured in”Redneck Retreats”…!

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  10. The Governments reply is no surprise at all and it is amusing that Bowdoin is seeking to have the proceedings moved to Talahassee on the basis of some uncorroborated reports from his wife’s chiropractor. As they rightly point out, neither accident nor injury have prevented the happy pair from travelling all over the US and Caribbean and even Uruguay (?) on ASD “business”.

    I am sure that Judy or George Harris can be trusted to stay at home with Mommy and give her her meds while Step Poppy goes to court. Anyway, poor ol’ Andy has so many problems with his memory that he’ll never remember to give them to her if he stays.

    As for witnesses, Washington does seem a little more central than Florida for most.

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  11. (The links will probably get me automodded, sorry for the hassle Patrick.)

    Thanks again to Don for his ASD files site:

    https://sites.google.com/site/asdupdatesfiles/

    Today’s addition was Tod Disner’s “ASD Justice” call, well worth the listen. Tod and his “lawyer” Dwight Schweitzer are soliciting funds to try to overturn the original seizure of ASD’s funds apparently in Florida courts. I explain the chain of evidence in the ASD thread over at realscam but I believe the Dwight Schweitzer on that call is the same Dwight Schweitzer who was reprimanded in the following document:

    http://www.jud.ct.gov/SGC/decisions/08-1099.pdf

    To anyone reading this thinking of contributing to Tod and Dwight, do you remember the name Bob Guenther? He took your money for the same reason and got you nothing. And he had a real attorney.

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  12. laidback: LOL,with the above ground pool, cheezy canopy and ice chest, all they need is a coupleof ’69 Chevy seats for lawn chairs to get featured in”Redneck Retreats”…!

    And now the VIP forum is back up and here comes the kicker:

    Mara is in Germany, can only connect to the internet for seconds at a time (the reason no posted lies, I mean updates for 2 months), and has contracted a form of H1N1.

    What will be next?

    Big Joe

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  13. JOE: Mara is in Germany, can only connect to the internet for seconds at a time (the reason no posted lies, I mean updates for 2 months), and has contracted a form of H1N1.

    What will be next?

    My guess would be Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

    That or a violent windstorm (inland cyclone) or a blackout caused by
    an Icelandic volcano.

    Patrick

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  14. There’s gotta be an excellent PhD thesis in the HYIP industry for someone.

    There definitely needs to be some sort of formal study to find out why it is that HYIP admins have to endure such a disproportionately high amount of personal tragedies, compared to the general population.

    There’s a obvious need for the insurance industry to tailor “honest admin” specific policies to enable the poor darlings to at least recoup some of the losses incurred under the tragic circumstances so many of them find themselves.

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