FDIC, Georgia Authorities Shut Down Bank That Once Held Proceeds From Alleged ASD/Golden Panda Ad Builder Scheme

ASD's Andy Bowdoin.

Bartow County Bank, which once held deposits tied to Golden Panda Ad Builder and the alleged AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme, has failed in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed the small bank today and appointed the FDIC receiver. Bartow once held $644,266 linked to Golden Panda, federal prosecutors said in a December 2008 forfeiture complaint.

Bartow’s failure is expected to cost the Deposit Insurance Fund nearly $70 million, the FDIC said. Georgia leads the United States in bank failures.

Golden Panda President Clarence Busby and his daughter, Dawn Stowers, voluntarily ceded the money in the Bartow account to the government more than two years ago, according to court filings. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer formerly ordered the money forfeited on March 31, 2010.

Golden Panda was the purported “Chinese” arm of the Florida-based ASD “autosurfing” enterprise, which prosecutors said was a $110 million Ponzi scheme. Most of the money from the scheme was routed through Bank of America, according to court filings.

Busby, who was implicated by the SEC in three prime-bank schemes during the 1990s, advised Collyer in 2008 that Golden Panda was formed after a “relaxing” day of fishing with Bowdoin and a minister on a Georgia Lake.

Along with the more than $644,000 in Golden Panda cash seized in the December 2008 forfeiture case, prosecutors also seized an $800,000 building in Florida for which Bowdoin had paid cash, according to court filings.

Prosecutors also seized a boat, cars and other equipment in the December 2008 complaint. In a forfeiture complaint filed in August 2008, prosecutors seized nearly $80 million held in Bank of America accounts, including $65.8 million in 10 accounts in Bowdoin’s name, and $14 million in Golden Panda-related accounts.

Collyer ordered Bowdoin’s money forfeited in January 2010. Golden Panda’s money was ordered forfeited in July 2009.

As was the case with many things associated with ASD, the December 2008 forfeiture case turned into Theatre of the Absurd. Although Bowdoin family members were named beneficiaries of much of the fraud outlined in the December complaint, neither Bowdoin nor a family member entered claims for the seized property.

Regardless, Bowdoin filed an appeal after Collyer ordered the money and property forfeited.

The FDIC said today that Bartow County Bank will repoen tomorrow as a branch of Hamilton State Bank. Bartow’s failure will cost the Deposit Insurance Fund an estimated $69.5 million.

“The FDIC and Hamilton State Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $247.5 million of Bartow County Bank’s assets,” the FDIC said. “Hamilton State Bank will share in the losses on the asset pools covered under the loss-share agreement.”

Four other U.S. banks failed today, bringing the year-to-date total to 34. In 2007, only three banks failed in the United States.

Eight banks have failed in Georgia so far this year. Two have failed in Florida.

After the assets of ASD and Golden Panda were seized, some members immediately turned their attention to promoting other autosurfs. They also pushed HYIPs and cash-gifting schemes, saying the miserable businesses were a good way to make up for ASD/Golden Panda losses.

When an MLM program known as MPB Today launched in Florida last year, promoters urged foreclosure subjects and Food Stamp recipients to part with their money to join the business. Records show that one of the banks MPB Today used was operating under a consent agreement with the FDIC.

MPB Today said last year that it had recruited more than 30,000 members.

Florida has one of the highest foreclosure rates and bank-failure rates in the United States.

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3 Responses to “FDIC, Georgia Authorities Shut Down Bank That Once Held Proceeds From Alleged ASD/Golden Panda Ad Builder Scheme”

  1. Slightly off topic:
    Feds indict internet poker sites, seize domains
    Bank fraud, money laundering, illegal gambling charged
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/16/feds_online_poker/
    I thought the last bit was interesting:

    The indictment names one bank, SunFirst Bank in St George, Utah, whose vice chairman of the board and part owner John Campos allegedly agreed to process gambling transactions in return for a $10m investment in SunFirst, which would give them a more than 30 per cent ownership stake in the bank. Campos also requested and received a $20,000 “bonus” for his assistance, according to US law enforcement.

    It reminds me when ASD was at it’s height and employing some BoA employees to process the payments.

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  2. Hi Tony,

    You’ll recall the FTC case in December that alleged Jeremy Johnson, 10 corporations and FIFTY-ONE shell companies were operating a $275 million fraud.

    The Utah banker and Las Vegas payment facilitator arrested Friday in the poker case both have ties to Utah-based Johnson. In fact, the FDIC ordered the Utah bank in November to stop processing payments for the Johnson-connected companies.

    http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/enforcement/2010-11-23.pdf

    What we need now, I suppose, is for an MLM/direct-sales cheerleader to come to the PP Blog and explain how the economies of Nevada, Utah and the United States in general can continue to absorb all the hits they are taking from online fraud schemes, securities swindles and scams targeted at people of faith.

    From the FTC complaint:

    “Defendants have employed a variety of stratagems to continue and expand their scam, thereby causing unreimbursed consumer injury to mount to more than $275 million since 2006. For instance, in 2009 Defendants incorporated more than 50 Shell Companies using maildrop addresses and straw-figures as owners and officers because they knew that it was unlikely they could obtain additional merchant accounts using existing companies, due to these companies’ negative chargeback histories.

    “Defendants then applied through intermediaries called Payment Processors for new merchant accounts in the names of these “front” companies in order to continue processing the credit and debit card charges for the online memberships Defendants sell. They have also attempted to drive down their chargeback rates by threatening to report consumers who seek chargebacks to an Internet consumer blacklist they operate called “BadCustomer.com” that will “result in member merchants blocking [the consumer] from making future purchases online!” And they have attempted to counter the large number of complaints about their conduct by flooding the Internet with supposedly independent positive articles and other web pages.”

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/1023015/110127iworkscmpt.pdf

    Patrick

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  3. admin: What we need now, I suppose, is for an MLM/direct-sales cheerleader to come to the PP Blog and explain how the economies of Nevada, Utah and the United States in general can continue to absorb all the hits they are taking from online fraud schemes, securities swindles and scams targeted at people of faith.

    I’m sure clem will be by any time now…..that is if he’s still not too immersed in debunking the amega wand. lol.

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