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Auto Surf Websites Busted in Ponzi Scheme

This is a summary of the forfeiture motion filed in US District Court, District of Columbia on 8/5, 2008 against 8 Gilcrease Lane, Quincy ,Florida, Thomas A. Bowdoin, Jr., and others

The web site known as 12DailyPro claimed to be an online advertising program whose advertisers paid them to get viewers to look at their ads. According to their offer, the hosting company would give ‘rebates’ to their ‘advertisers’ for viewing the ads of the other advertisers. In order to be eligible to get these ‘rebates’ people had to sign up and pay a membership fee. Members could also earn a fee by recruiting other people as new members.

I early 2006 the SEC filed suit against the owners of the web site claiming that

A) There was no major source of revenue to support the payments that members were promised other than the revenue that came in from the sale of new memberships

B) Most of the payments made to members came from the proceeds of new membership sales

C) That because of this the operation was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme (a scheme where payments to older members come only from new members, and that will go under, absent sales to enough new members), and was therefore illegal under US law. By the SEC’s estimates the web site known as 12DailyPro had received over $50,000,000 from around three hundred thousand members, both from the US and abroad. The SEC was successful in its suit, and the suit received wide publicity on the internet.

Shortly thereafter,in July 2007, the SEC again successfully prosecuted a similar securities fraud lawsuit against the operators of another Internet-based auto-surf Ponzi scheme, known as ‘Phoenixsurf’. Phoenixsurf promised that by enrolling in their program, participants could enjoy a 120% return on their initial investment in as little as eight days. In order to get these returns, their customers were required to purchase advertising and view 15 web pages per day throughout an eight day period.

In July of 2008, a task force of the US Secret Service began investigating another suspected auto-surf Ponzi scheme, known as ‘Ad Surf Daily’, that operated almost exactly in the same manner as the 12DailyPro and Phoenixsurf programs.

According to the complaint, around July 3, 2008, team members of a Secret Service task force received a tip from a source they believed to be from a reliable source concerning Ad Surf Daily. They were told that Ad Surf Daily was using the internet to operate a pyramid or Ponzi scheme. They were additionally informed that Ad Surf Daily was operating a Spanish version of its scheme from a site called La Fuente Dinero, which translates as ‘The Fountain of Money’ in English. The task force found that Ad Surf Daily was operating over the internet using sites at www.AdSurfDailycashgenerator.com, and www.lafuentedinero.com, and that laws about wire fraud did apply to their operations. They found one more related site known as Golden Panda Ad Builder at www.goldenpandaadbuilder.com. All of these sites offered prospects the chance to earn large fees if they would pay to advertise with them, view other advertiser’s pages, and recruit new members.

The primary person behind Ad Surf Daily was Thomas Anderson Bowdoin, Jr, seventy four years old, also known as Andy Bowdoin. Andy Bowdoin served as CEO and President of Ad Surf Daily from October of 2006 until March of 2007. He also served as CEO and president of Ad Surf Daily Cash Generator from March of 2007, until the forfeiture motion was made in the summer of 2008. He operated both businesses using a fictitious address of 13 S.Calhoun Street, Quincy, Florida next to a former flower shop previously run by his wife, located at 11 S Calhoun St. Not long before his involvement with Ad Surf Daily, Andy Bowdoin was arrested in Alabama for violations of securities laws concerning the offer and sale of securities by an unregistered agent. The charge included allegations of elements of Ponzi scheme-like activities. Bowdoin resolved this charge by agreeing to a three year supervised probation period and by paying $15,000 in restitution. Bowdoin was again charged on Jan of 1999, on this occasion with the sale of an unregistered security. This time he was sentenced to one year in prison, which was suspended on the condition of three years supervised probation and payment of $75,000 in restitution.

The forfeiture motion detailed how Ad Surf Daily offered members a 125% return on their membership fees plus a percentage of fees from any new member that they recruited. According to the complaint, Ad Surf Daily claimed that it rebated 1% of the fees it had received every single weekday during May and June,and half that percentage every Saturday and Sunday. A mathematical analysis of these claims shows that such payment rates are not sustainable over time.

The US Attorneys office claimed that the accounts and properties listed in their complaint were subject to forfeiture because they contained the proceeds, or were purchased with the proceeds from a conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. 5 1343, as well as 18 U.S.C.5 371.

The complaint asked for forfeiture of Mr Bowdoin’s property at 8 Gilcrease Lane, Quincy, Florida, his condo in Myrtle Beach, SC and approximately $53 million in funds, spread out in 8 accounts at the Bank of America,owned by Thomas A. Bowdoin, Jr., Sole Proprietor, dba AdSurfDaily, as well as others owned by Clarence Busby Jr. and Dawn Stowers, dba Golden Panda Ad Builder Deposit.


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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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