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           22 October, 2020


    
Category:  Press » Legal

 

United States Files Civil Forfeiture Complaint Against Proceeds of Alleged Massive Internet-Based Wire Fraud Scheme

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2008-08-06 06:20:50     
U.S. Department of Justice

Today, a civil forfeiture complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against two homes located in Florida and South Carolina and approximately $53 million, announced U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge John Mrha, Orlando, Fla.

The complaint alleges that the real property and all of the funds, which were seized by the special agents of the U.S. Secret Service last Friday, are forfeitable to the United States. According to the complaint, all of the property constitutes proceeds of a massive Internet-based wire fraud scheme that Thomas A. Bowdoin Jr. and others allegedly operated out of a former flower shop located in Quincy, Fla. According to the complaint, Bowdoin, through his company, AdSurfDaily Inc., which operates on the Internet at http://www.adsurfdaily.com, http://www.asdcashgenerator.com, http://www.lafuentedinero.com, and http://www.goldenpandaadbuilder.com (collectively referred to as ASD), operated a Ponzi scheme that he masked as an advertising company.

Ponzi schemes are named after Charles Ponzi, who, almost 100 years ago, duped thousands of New Englanders into investing their money with him. Today, Ponzi schemes continue to operate on the "rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul" principle -- money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors until the whole scheme collapses.

In this case, the government's complaint alleges that from approximately January 2007 to the present, ASD operated a "paid auto-surf program" -- a so-called online advertising program. Under the program, ASD purportedly generated advertising revenue by automatically rotating advertised Web sites into its investors' Internet browsers. To secure investors, ASD agreed to pay a return of between 125 percent and 150 percent on each dollar each investor provided to ASD, as long as each investor agreed to view a couple of Web sites for a couple of minutes each day. To mask its Ponzi characteristics, ASD termed its investors "advertisers," their payments "ad purchases" and its payments "rebates."

However, according to the complaint, ASD did not operate as a seller of advertising services and there was no legitimate product being sold to support the profits ASD promised to pay to its "investors" for relinquishing their funds. Because ASD was creating no significant new wealth by selling advertising to purchasers outside of its investor-members, the only wealth gained by any participant and Bowdoin was wealth lost by other participants.

This matter is an ongoing investigation. No one has been criminally charged at this point and every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

In announcing the lawsuit, U.S. Attorney Taylor and Special Agent in Charge Mrha praised the work of the St. Cloud, Florida IRS and Secret Service Financial Crimes Task Force. In addition, they commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vasu Muthyala and William Cowden of Washington, D.C., who are prosecuting the case.

Specialized in: Forfeiture Complaint - Alleged Massive - Fraud Scheme
URL: http://www.usdoj.gov
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