AdSurfDaily’s Bowdoin Says He’s Appealing Forfeiture Order Issued By Federal Judge; Notice Filed 6 Days After INetGlobal Raid; Riddle Of Bowdoin’s Competing Affidavit Claims Unsolved

Andy Bowdoin

The president of a Florida-based autosurf company implicated in a Ponzi scheme by the U.S. Secret Service says he is appealing a forfeiture order that gave the government title to more than $65 million seized from his personal bank accounts in 2008.

Notice of the appeal by Andy Bowdoin of AdSurfDaily was filed by his attorneys March 1, about six days after federal agents — citing the Jan. 4 forfeiture order by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer of the District of Columbia — raided the Minneapolis offices of INetGlobal.

In an affidavit for a search warrant last month, the Secret Service said INetGlobal, a company operated by Steve Renner, was operating a similar autosurf Ponzi scheme and also engaging in wire fraud and money laundering.

The INetGlobal affidavit asserts, among other things, that a member of ASD attempted to recruit an undercover Secret Service agent into INetGlobal despite the member’s own reservations about ASD.

INetGlobal was described by the ASD member as a wink-nod enterprise, according to the Secret Service affidavit. The company “uses the same terminology and business model as ASD,” the agency said.

In court filings prior to the INetGlobal raid, Bowdoin’s attorneys laid the groundwork for an appeal of Collyer’s Jan. 4 forfeiture order on the grounds of judicial error, arguing that Bowdoin had not received proper notice about orders Collyer issued last year and did not react to them because of computer glitches at the office of one of his attorneys, Charles A. Murray.

“I experienced as yet unidentified computer/server issues, wherein multiple email messages apparently never loaded to the firm’s Inbox,” Murray said in court filings on Feb. 17.

The glitches occurred between Nov. 10 and “early January” of this year, Murray said.

Paperwork for Bowdoin’s appeal shows a “minute order” issued by Collyer Feb. 21, denying earlier motions by Bowdoin.

A “minute order” is a document that encapsulates legal issues before a judge. Minute orders sometimes are used when paperwork among the parties in a case is flying and a judge memorializes rulings by addressing them in a short entry, as opposed to issuing lengthy orders for each issue.

“The Court’s Order of November 10, 2009 . . . was not a final, appealable order,” according to Collyer’s minute order. “Nor has Mr. Bowdoin shown that the Court erred in entering . . . the November 20, 2009, Order to Show Cause. The order granting default judgment and final order of forfeiture . . . is the final order in this case.”

On Nov. 10, Collyer ruled that Bowdoin no longer had standing in the case after he had battled for 10 months to reenter the case. Bowdoin submitted to the forfeiture in January 2009 — and then changed his mind, first acting as his own attorney and later acting with Murray’s help because Bowdoin had fired his previous paid counsel.

On Nov. 20, Collyer issued an order that gave potential claimants in the case 30 days to come forward. No claimant emerged. On Dec. 17, however, Bowdoin filed a motion to disqualify Collyer, saying she was biased. Collyer denied the motion Dec. 18. She issued the forfeiture order Jan. 4.

In February, Bowdoin, 75, flatly claimed in a sworn affidavit that he was told by a former defense attorney that, if he submitted to the forfeiture in January 2009 of tens of millions of dollars, he would face no jail time if criminal charges were filed in the ASD Ponzi scheme case.

He did not name the attorney in the February filing, referring to him obliquely as “prior counsel.” In an earlier filing, Bowdoin identified his counsel as Stephen Dobson.

“I was assured by my prior counsel that, if I released my claims in this [civil-forfeiture] action, I would not be facing any incarceration,” Bowdoin claimed last month. “My January 2009 motion to withdraw my claim . . . was solely based upon prior counsel’s unilateral mistaken belief that my release of claims would unequivocally assure that any subsequent criminal sentence entered would not include any prison time.”

Last month’s filing was witnessed by Florida notary public Joe B. Cox of Lee County.

But in a sworn affidavit Bowdoin signed Sept. 15 before a different notary public — Patricia C. Sanson of Lee County — Bowdoin repeatedly said Dobson had said only that there was a possibility Bowdoin would not be sentenced to prison if criminal charges emerged.

In the Sept. 15 affidavit, Bowdoin repeatedly swore that Dobson had not promised him no jail time.

These are among the phrases Bowdoin swore to in the Sept. 15 affidavit (emphasis added):

  • Dobson represented to me that I could possibly avoid prison or get a reduced sentence if I agreed to disclose details concerning ASD and releasing the assets.
  • I also signed a document stating that I would release my claims in the abovecaptioned civil in rem forfeiture proceeding, again thinking that necessary for a possible avoidance of a prison term.
  • I did all of this on the understanding that by cooperating I could possibly avoid a prison sentence.
  • I agreed not to exercise my rights in the civil forfeiture proceeding, anticipating from representations made by Dobson that this could possibly keep me out of prison.
    Dobson lead [sic] me to believe that if I cooperated there was a possibility that I would not be incarcerated or imprisoned.
  • I believed that my cooperation would still result in a criminal sentence that could possibly not include imprisonment or incarceration.
  • I slowly came to understand what I understood from Dobson not to be the case: that my agreement to cooperate provided me no benefit in the criminal matter except the possibility of a reduced sentence if the judge desired which would still be a life sentence.

Bowdoin’s filing last month led to questions about whether he deliberately chose to appear before a different notary to swear to the affidavit. At the same time, it led to questions about whether Bowdoin somehow was unaware that Collyer already had cited Bowdoin’s Sept. 15 sworn affidavit in a major ruling that Bowdoin no longer had standing in the case.

On Nov. 10, Collyer noted Bowdoin’s repeated use of the words “possibly,” “possible” and “possibility” in the Sept. 15 affidavit when referring to the advice Dobson had given him on the matter of jail and finding that Dobson had behaved responsibly while representing Bowdoin.

“Such an approach from counsel could be seen as the norm when the Government’s evidence is strong,” Collyer said. “What Mr. Bowdoin hoped to gain from his release of claims/early acceptance of responsibility and his debriefing with the Government was a promise of no jail time. When that was not forthcoming from the Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Bowdoin balked and tried to back up, as if he had not already released his claims and talked to the Government.”

There may be other news associated with Bowdoin’s appeal: The filings suggest that William Cowden, who spearheaded the forfeiture case for the Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. Attorney and then accepted a job in the private sector, may be returning as a special prosecutor while maintaining his job in the private sector.

Cowden was derided by Bowdoin supporters as “Gomer Pyle,” but piloted the case through an evidentiary hearing that resulted in a ruling from Collyer in November 2008 that ASD had not demonstrated it was a legal business and not a Ponzi scheme.

With the Secret Service leading the investigation, Cowden then filed a second forfeiture complaint against assets linked to ASD. The second complaint was filed in December 2008 and named members of Bowdoin’s family as beneficiaries of ASD’s illegal scheme.

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7 Responses to “AdSurfDaily’s Bowdoin Says He’s Appealing Forfeiture Order Issued By Federal Judge; Notice Filed 6 Days After INetGlobal Raid; Riddle Of Bowdoin’s Competing Affidavit Claims Unsolved”

  1. you would think inetglogal lawyers should be asking for a “evidentiary hearing” it sure got ASD in front a judge awhole lot faster.

  2. I wonder what Andy will do when the Appeal is denied? Maybe this will go before the Supreme Court? Ho long does he think he can forestall the inevitable, namely “possible” incarceration.

  3. You’d think that, in addition to the email, the prosecution sent out certified letters. That’s standard practice as far as I know regarding important communications. Did the “glitch” just effect email relating to Bowdoin? Did Murray notify the prosecutor’s office as this “glitch” apparently was ongoing?

    Now the lawyers are going nutty too, or so it seems.

  4. I was wondering if Andy wasn’t also required to be notified, not just his attorney? I also thought conveyance also had to be done through snail mail as well as E-mail. Wasn’t Murray also claiming his office was too busy to have time to check his E-mails, or some such nonsense? At least I think I remembered reading that, or something to that effect.

  5. Lynn, what Murray said was that he had between 50 and 100 clients and didn’t have the time to personally check each docket. I guess he has never heard of paralegals or clerks/secretaries. This guy takes a sole proprietor to a new level, it seems. At least he didn’t blame it on his dog eating the notices. I bet, however, he has used that excuse previously, if not as a child.

  6. Jesus H….! Ok So Andy Bowdoin doesnt want to go to jail. But who does? The best way to avoid jail time is not to commit crimes. If you do – then stop crying.

    Thomas Anderson Bowdoin’s protests are wearing a little thin with the majority of the “general public” and nearly all of the ex ASD membership.

    Andy – you conned us and we fell for it. You got caught. That’s life. End of story.

  7. As Jack pointed put on the Forum, Andy no longer has any standing in the case following his release of all claims… with prejudice. He was denied a do-over and an Opinion was filed detailing his lack of standing. So doesn’t that make the Appeal sort of a mute point?

    Anyone want to take bets on how long it will take to have the Appeal denied?