FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 26, 2011
For Information Contact:
$55 Million Being Returned to Victims of Internet Fraud
- Victims Receive Forfeited Ponzi Scheme Proceeds -
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Secret Service have begun returning approximately $55 million in forfeited funds to about 8,400 victims of the “AdSurfDaily” and related internet-based Ponzi schemes, Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, and Mark Sullivan, Director of the Secret Service, announced today.
The funds were seized by the U.S. Secret Service in connection with a criminal investigation of Thomas A. “Andy” Bowdoin Jr., of Quincy, Fla., the founder and operator of a business known as AdSurf Daily, Inc. (ASD). The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia obtained civil forfeiture of the proceeds of the schemes, including numerous bank accounts, real property, luxury vehicles, and watercraft.
These proceeds are now being returned to victims through an administrative process called “remission,” which was overseen by the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the Secret Service.
On November 23, 2010, in the related criminal investigation, Bowdoin was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on five counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and one count of unlawful sale of unregistered securities. He has pleaded not guilty to all seven counts of the indictment and is awaiting trial. An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty in a court of law.
The indictment alleges that Bowdoin ran a Ponzi scheme disguised as an online advertising company that drew in large numbers of investors by promising huge returns on their monies. According to the indictment, Bowdoin operated ASD from on or around September of 2006 until August of 2008. ASD operated on the Internet at various websites, including www.adsurfdaily.com, www.adcashgenerator.com, and www.lafuentedinero.com.
“We are putting $55 million back into the pockets of innocent victims of this online Ponzi scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “As we did in this case, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to recover every penny we can find for victims of financial fraud.”
“As today’s announcement reflects, forfeiture is a powerful tool for ensuring that victims of financial fraud are made whole,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer of the Criminal Division. “Returning funds to victims is a key goal in our mission to combat financial crimes. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to bring justice to the citizens defrauded by these insidious schemes.”
“The United States Secret Service safeguards the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems to preserve the integrity of the economy,” said Assistant Director A.T. Smith of the Secret Service's Office of Investigations. “With all of our efforts to punish and deter this criminal enterprise, the rights of innocent parties are protected and will subsequently be returned. This substantial remittance not only emphasizes the cooperation between the Secret Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice, but promotes positive community impact by returning these funds to innocent victims.”
Information for victims of the scheme is available by calling 1-800-644-1535 or mailing Basizette Stribling, Victim Witness Assistant, Re: AdSurf Daily, United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, 555 Fourth Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20530.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Secret Service are partners in combating financial crimes through the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.