RECEIVER REPORT: Jet Ski Owned By Noobing Autosurf’s Parent Company Fetches $1,800 At Auction; Office Equipment Fetches $12,500

A court-appointed receiver has described the accounting records of Affiliate Strategies Inc. (ASI) as a mess, saying “an opinion on the accuracy of these records is not possible without an extensive audit that would require significant additional costs.”

ASI is the parent company of the Noobing autosurf, which targeted deaf people in sales promotions. ASI and its president, Brett Blackman, were sued by the Federal Trade Commission last year for their alleged roles in a scheme that promised guaranteed government grants of $25,000 from economic-stimulus funds.

Several other companies and individuals were named in the FTC complaint. Although Noobing was not named in the FTC complaint, receiver Larry Cook examined Noobing’s records last year and made a preliminary determination that it was insolvent. The Noobing website has been offline for months.

Attorneys general from Kansas, North Carolina, Minnesota and Illinois joined the FTC in the action.

In October, U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson authorized Cook to sell ASI’s assets, including office equipment, a vehicle and a jet ski.

In a report to Robinson filed last week, Cook said the office equipment fetched $12,500 at auction. Meanwhile, the vehicle — a 2003 Saturn L200 — fetched $2,500. The jet ski — a 2005 Yamaha — brought in $1,800.

In August 2009, Cook said in a preliminary report to the court that “the ASI defendants have formed and operated eighteen additional Kansas LLCs as subsidiaries of Defendant Apex Holdings International LLC.” One of the companies was Noobing, which listed registrations in both the United States and Nevis.

Kris Rogers, who was the comptroller for ASI and president of an affiliate company known as Custom Accounting Services LLC, told Cook that “the expenses of [the] combined companies have exceeded the revenues since October or November 2008,” according to court filings.

If Rogers’ assertions are true, it means that both Noobing and ASI — its parent company — were insolvent when the Noobing autosurf was collecting money with the suggestion that participants could earn a return of up to 3 percent a day. Noobing slashed daily payouts in early 2009, an act that caused an uproar on the Ponzi boards.

Noobing blamed the slashed payout on what it described as an unclear ruling in the AdSurfDaily case. The company did not say why it chose to collect money using a business model that U.S. government has challenged in repeated court cases. After Noobing members complained, the company explained that payouts never were guaranteed.

Noobing became popular after the August 2008 seizure of tens of millions of dollars from Florida-based ASD amid Ponzi scheme allegations. After the FTC and the attorneys general took the action against ASI and other defendants in the alleged grants scheme, Cook made a preliminary determination that Noobing was nearly $550,000 in the hole.

When the financial records of the ASI-affiliated records were examined as a whole in Cook’s preliminary analysis last year, he found that “over twenty-five thousand accounting
transactions, including several thousand intercompany transfers” had oocuured.

“The transfers between the various LLCs make it difficult to sort out the net result and profits or losses sustained by each LLC,” Cook said.

“The Receiver’s work over the past three weeks,” Cook said in August 2009, “suggests the Defendants’ operations were insolvent on the date [July 24] the [Temporary Restraining Order] was entered and that for at least all of 2009, Defendants operated only by signing up new victims faster than the old victims could obtain refunds.”

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