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Monday, August 10, 2009

Feds seize internet firm's assets and investors say they've lost millions with little explanation

The US and Florida Attorney General's office recently seized millions of dollars from investors of a marketing firm that sold ad space on the internet.

The Attorney General (AG) is investigating 'Ad Surf Daily', a Quincy, Florida based corporation founded by Thomas Bowdoin in 2006. Bowdoin stated the purpose of the corporation was to 'provide advertising space for websites on the internet' but the USAG says the company is nothing more than an elaborate ponzi scheme.

Ad Surf Daily (ASD) is designed to pay members dividends by surfing various business websites.The AG states the company "members were entitled to earn “credits” by viewing other members’ advertising websites. One credit was received for each viewing of another member’s website advertising."

The Florida AG says ASD is only able to pay members a profit when new members pay to join the company. In a complaint filed by Florida AG's special counsel Keith Vanden Dooren he states "Defendants have engaged in a sales or marketing plan or operation to induce and cause persons to pay consideration, or to make an investment, in excess of $100 and acquire an opportunity to receive a benefit or thing which is
not primarily contingent on the volume or quantity of goods, services or other property sold in bona fide sales to consumers and which is related to the inducement of additional persons to participate in the same sales or marketing plan or operation."

The company's members are said to total upwards of 100,000 and they've invested millions. They accuse the AG of holding their money hostage for nothing that they did wrong.

Marcia Breitenbach says she invested most of her savings in the company and is worried she has lost it all. "I'm trying to save my house, scraping by and others are much worse off than me."

Even though the AG accuses the internet firm of running a 'pyramid sales scheme', it has not yet provided evidence to support those charges. The second judicial circuit court in Leon County, Florida has given the Florida AG until next week to provide proof of wrongdoing.

Breitenbach is anxious for answers, "I've been patient and have contacted the Attorney General's office many times and have gotten nowhere."

Many ASD investors say they have no idea what's happening with their money and fear they could lose their life savings. The government has frozen assets totalling tens of millions of dollars but has not said how that money will be distributed.

The Florida AG has agreed to respond to my inquiries by tomorrow and as I investigative this further I will deliver a detailed account of how this happened and what the next steps will be. You can subscribe to my blog for updates as soon as they are posted.
Stay tuned.

Mike Mason - Investigative Reporter
Investigative Reporting Video Resume:


  1. It is apparent that you have done very little investigative reporting or you would know that ASD violated both State and Federal Laws and that they were nothing more than a Ponzi which allowed Thomas Andersen Bowdoin and his family to live high on the hog at the expense of others.

    From your article you would have people believe that they were a legit company that the evil Government shut down with out cause.

    If the company was so legit then why did Andy not continue you to run it after the Government takedown? He had the money and all the equipment and still refused to continue operations. You do not need 97 million dollars to run a so called advertising business when you were spending less than 1000.00 a month running it in the past.

    May I suggest that you put your ego aside and do some real reporting.

    Jack Arons

  2. In the first paragraph of your article about Ad Surf Daily you say:

    "Hundreds of thousands of investors want to know why thier (sic) money is locked in the Government's coffers, they say the USAG hasn't told them what, if anything , the company did wrong. Their own company isn't providing any information either."

    Below I've inserted my comments in brackets:
    Hundreds of thousands [ASD claimed 120,000 or so "members", not hundreds of thousands.]

    of investors [ASD adamantly and repeatedly denied members were "investing" with ASD. In fact, those who posted on the company-endorsed forum flogged those who referred to the money sent to ASD as "investments".]

    want to know why their (sic) money is locked in the Government's coffers, [The ASD terms of service clearly state that money sent to ASD was for advertising, and that once in ASD's hands, it belonged to ASD, not the members. Furthermore, the money was reported to have been deposited in bank accounts in the sole name of ASD’s president, Andy Bowdoin, not the company name, which further removed it from belonging to members.]

    they say the USAG hasn't told them what, if anything , the company did wrong. [Mr. Mason, you'd better look up the legal documents filed by the authorities, for the civil charges are spelled out there, and are publicly available.]

    Their own company [It's not "their own company", they are merely customers of the company from which they bought "advertising" that the company has failed to deliver.]

    isn't providing any information either. [Andy Bowdoin and his minions, via the company’s now defunct "Breaking News" website and the company-endorsed "Surf's Up" forum provided large volumes of rhetoric in the months following the visit from the U.S. Secret Service in August of 2008 in which company assets were confiscated.]

    Mr. Mason, I see from your website that you are looking for full-time employment. Beware that your award-winning resume' is about to be stained with a huge, easily-located display of incompetence if you continue along the path upon which you have embarked. With all due respect for your award-winning journalistic credentials, not one aspect of this opening paragraph is accurate.

  3. ASD was delivering MY advertising and that of people that I know... until the govt. came in and stole our money. It is apparent that the govt. has no interest in giving back our money and many have lost life savings.
    ASD could not continue to grow a business with all the horrible press and lack of funds. The govt.. literally took it all and left us to hang.
    I can't tell you how incredibly sick and tired I am of people like the 2 previous commentors. You can see there are alot of people in the world that get up in the morning with nothing better to do than make other look bad in order to make themselves look "good".

  4. Bargainsshopperdeals:

    All you have to do is fill out the form on the Government website and certify that it is the truth and you will be put on the list to get your money back just as soon as Andy and the Arby Indians stop filing all the frivilious motions. You also need to read all the court papers and understand that it was not your money that the Government took...IT WAS ANDY'S MONEY. All the bank accounts were in his name and not a company name.

  5. Mike,
    I have no idea why you need to investigate anything. The IRS, Secret Service, DOJ and USAG have already invesigated and found an illegal activity. The promoter is a 2 time convicted Felon, having done this same type scam twice before. This is his third strike. Ask his faithful followers (cult) why he signed away all claims on the $93 million in January if he was so legal. He's trying to avoid jail time. Ask him why he failed to show for a hearing he demanded. Ask him what happened to the millions in cash that were never depositied. Investigate that....

  6. I would welcome news coverage on the ASD case. I think it needs the attention. Better late then never!

    Steve W

  7. All I know is I am one of the 120,000 ASD people, and I have several thousand dollars tied-up as part of the $93-97 million the federal government has been holding for over one year now. It seems to me - whether Mr. Bowdoin has pulled an illegal scam or not - that those who have been victimized by all this should get their fair share returned. The government has sat on this money much too long! Either way, whether Mr. Bowdoin or/and the government is at fault, there are 120,000 victims that deserve some justice! Please investigate all the angles Mr. Mason. --Steve H (Wisconsin)

  8. Unbelieveable...
    'the' - Sorry but you're just an idiot.
    Leo where are your sources for saying the gov't agencies have illegal activity? Even if you had it - you'd have to be infintile to believe what the government says hook line and sinker?

    Did you know the gov't took $100's of thousands of dollars in 'not yet ' cashed checks from innocent advertisers and put them into the bank so they could seize that money too? If they were 'serving the public' why didn't they simply send those checks back to the people who wanted to pay for advertising?

    Have you ever met or spoken with Andy or any of the other members of the ASD team? No you're a back seat driver - an accident gawker with a big mouth and a 'opinion'.

    What your you ever built or created? Critics are a dime a dozen & never contribute - only destroy.

    Apply to the gov't to get your money back? You really have no idea do you? The government - will waste 3/4's of that money on fees, administrative costs, etc. That idea is a joke.

    They're asking people to go there and register so they can be coarced into saying something bad about ASD and build the case however they can.

    There were some 120,000 members of ASD and MAYBE 40-50 'complaints' against them (like a guy from Ohio who went to his state's Attorney General because ASD did not post the TEN DOLLARS he put into ASD fast enough). You can go back to practically EVERY business and find people who were not happy - but 50 out of 120,000?

    So why such interest from the gov't ? The money was easy pickings!

    A whistleblower notified the SEC 7 times over 7 years about Bernie Madoff's 70 billion dollar ponzi - and they ignored his warnings (a professional in that field) - and yet they jumped all over ASD within a month or so of even learning about ASD. Nah,nothing fishy about that...

    You guys think ASD was a Ponzi - look at the biggest ponzi scheme of all time (run by your goverment) America's Social Security System!!! The money we put in over the decades was spent for the people who got in first (those people have recieved 10/20/100 times what they put into the system) - now the money's drying up and we're left holding the bag!

    Wake up or go destroy something YOU'VE (not) built.

    Wide Awake

  9. John I am with you on your comments. I to am tired of blowheart individuals who have nothing better to do then spew their unsubstantiated remarks. They obviously don't have a life to be proud of so they spew to bring everyone down to their level. This is one of the biggest problems humanity has..people just like this.

    Andy did not steal our money the govt did. Granted Andy was not a keen business person and yes there were things most all of the members did not know but as of this date the govt has not proven that ASD was or is a ponzi scheme. If so where is the proof? Accusations upon accusations. If the govt had cared about the citizens/members of ASD they would have worked with ASD as was proposed by ASD to fine tune the business model. The gvt refused so what does that say?

    Just before ASD was shut down and all the money confiscated there were other programs being introduced to bring in more revenue for the advertising members. ASD needed fine tuning and a stronger business leader to accomodate the amazing growth it was experiencing. ASD did not have time to build on the advertising model which I do believe it would have done. The govt took my uncashed cashiers check, and deposited it into the state treasury. Whey did they NOT send it back? We know why. They have way too much power over people they are suppose to be protecting because they know we can not do anything about it. The govt took from me money that was to be used to advertise my online business. No one else did. So go for it Mike.

  10. I just hope all of you ASD supporters don't vilify Mike when he does find out the truth about ASD and Andy Bowdoin. Mike, while you are at it, investigate Ad View Global, which stopped paying out and is owned by Andy's stepson, who used ASD money to retire his $170k mortgage. There is no legitimate business online or elsewhere that will pay you 125% or better on an investment. Ask Madoff. It's a scam.

  11. OK Don, fair enough, let's get to the bottom of it!! We can all go on and on about this till the glaciers come back. I'm all for doing a complete investigation of both ASD and the Feds. The way this thing has been handled by the Government is nothing short of a train robbery. You have to admit there has to be a more civilized method to conduct an " investigation " of a company that is only " suspected " of being unsustainable. You can't just barge in and steal someone's funds, equipment, and customer's money and call it a Ponzi, or whatever it takes for you to make it " legal ". The government hasn't proved anything they have alleged. So yes, let's do this investigation and make your allies wince, because I believe, from what I have read from these comments from ASD enemies, that an investigation made public, is not what they really want. HMMM?? I wonder why, is it because they just want to keep the money??? I purchased many ads with the company over a 2 year period. I had a substantial amount of money in my cash account, this was my money, payable to me because I earned it, just like I would earn rebates ( or profit sharing ) from any company that pays them, which I know is legal. This is the money I care about, not Andy's. Remember, if you read the Terms & Conditions, then you would know that ASD did not guarantee anything unless a profit was made. I invested nothing, I purchased advertising that paid rebates, and only paid them if there was a profit from advertising sales for that day. Pretty simple. So yes, let's let Mike get to it!! I'm ready to get back in business!!!

  12. This is a note to everyone who is interested in my coverage on Ad Surf Daily and the AG's investigation. I would like you to know that I have received an overwhelming response and it will take some time for me to respond to everyone's emails and voicemails. I am reading your information and considering all of your comments and concerns. I encourage you to email me so I can have a written record of your information and please notify me if you DO NOT want any of your information printed in my reports. I will be posting updates as they come in and I will also be asking many questions on both sides. If you have any printed documentation, inside information or key facts you would like me to consider please forward them to me, if you need a mailing address I will provide one. I appreciate your interest and will continue to post updates as soon as I receive them. My goal is to report what is happening and I will hopefully help to bring this issue into focus as we work towards a resolution.


    Mike Mason

  13. If you really want to know about ASD, Andy Bowdoin, Panda, Clarence Busby and four other bogus companies that are spin offs of ASD and are taking millions of innocent peoples money, call me.

    If you want to see just how inept the Government and Willam Cowden, the AG's prosecuting Attorney really are, call me.

    Go to our website, The post regarding the spins offs was posted LAST NOVEMBER and all info regarding them were sent to the AG's office and Bill Cowden.

    By the time this case gets out of Judge Collyer's court, all of the ASD winners will have spent,hidden or moved their illegal financial gains.

    It is obvious the Government cut a deal with Busby and gave up any claim to the $6-$10Mill already seized, and several million more he had in uncashed cashiers checks and checking accounts, and BUT he made of with millions before that. We identified ONE bank where there was $2-$3MIL, sent investigators in, and told the Feds. By the time they got there, the money had been withdraw by Busby.

    There is so much more, I could write a book, BUT, if and when the Government does finally get their hands on the $90-$120 million, do you really think they are going to give it back to the people????

    You want more, call me anytime,

    Bob Guenther 214.587.3977

  14. Yes, by all means, call Bob Guenther.

  15. As an ex member of ASD, I cant agree that the Government stole "our" money, nor that they have given no explanations. They stopped money we paid to Andy Bowdoin disappearing offshore and have explained many times in the many court documents why they believe this to be an illegal ponzi scheme. The Judge herself has stated that ASD has not shown itself not to be running an illegal operation and the President of ASD signed away his rights to the forfeited monies way back in January (even though he has changed his mind now)

    Most of the information you needed to write this article was contained in the court documents - and if you need some good journalists information - try the Patrick Pretty Blog at He has been reporting on ASD for months now and very accurately.

  16. Oh yes you do need to talk with Robert Lee Guenther who along with his Attorney stole 130,000.00 from 1800 victums of the ASD scam by telling them that they could get their money back and never filed one piece of paper in court but spent the money and has failed to give an accurate accounting of where the money went.

    Also, mike if you want all the information that the Florida AG has on both ASD and the ASDMBA send me your mailing address as it consists of 4 DVD's and should keep you busy until early next year.

  17. Does anyone know about Google Adsense? They promise to pay some sort of a profit when people click on ads that they place on your website. I have signed up for it temporarily to see how it works and that is why there are some ads on my site. I want to see if there are any parallels to ASD's formula.

    Mike Mason

  18. Adsense is legit and ASD was illegal in that Google does not tell you that you will receive 110% on your investment oops I mean on the purchase of AD packs.

  19. I can assure you that there are no "Parallels" in their formulas. Google never promised 200% matching on investments to intice new members as did ASD to my knowledge. The liability for payouts on the initial investment plus the 200% matching is untenable in itself. Take $10,000, add a $20,000 match, and not you have a liability of paying out $37,500 when you only took in $10,000 and are keeping half for yourself. How does that ever even out?

  20. Oh, and add into that the tax liability on the close to $100 million ASD/Andy amassed in a few months and whether he paid taxes on it. That's his next big problem, once the civil and criminal stuff is concluded.

  21. Come on " the " nobody promised anything. It was all based on if there were profits made, then everyone would receive a rebate based on the number of Ad Packs in force at the time. Geez!! All these promises and guarantees!!! I can't find them anywhere in the Terms & Conditions!! Nor can I find where it says you have to invest money to participate in the rebates. You also have to surf, so it's not money for nothing. If somebody paid me to just look at the newspaper everyday for 15 minutes, I believe I would do it, regardless whether I paid any attention to the ads or not. A lot people get the newspaper to only read the sports!! And " Don " at $1.00 per ad, you don't have to be a math expert to know that there is a ton of profit in each credit purchased, so yes, there is plenty of room for a 200% match, and a 125% return, which was paid out in an average of 3 to 6 months. Try not to make this so complicated. So, as I said earlier, let's stop all the arguing and get on with the investigation of the whole mess. I believe there is plenty of shady dealings involved on both parties, but I don't believe the majority of the members did anything wrong for the AG to not return what monies are there, and then by all means, prosecute the ones that took advantage of the members. It's a sad ordeal, because the business model will work, simply due to the fact that existing members will continue to re-purchase advertising with their rebates and cash, while the explosive growth of new members is virtually unending. But we all know the story to well, Greed ruins everything, sooner or later.

  22. I receive monthly checks from Google Adsense. I make about 100 per month from google by placing ads on my site. The adsense code reads the surrounding text on your site and places similar ads. If I change the surrounding text to "cats and dogs" the ads would change accordingly. I have also, used Google Adwords, this is where you pay to get your site seen. You compete with others Adwords Ads for top position by bidding more per click. Some people pay as high as 5 dollars per click and as low as 2 cents per click. I never had much success with Adwords, but have made 1200 hundred in one month with Google Adsense!

    I prefer to get paid by advertising than to pay for advertisements. ASD and other "like" manual surfs guarantee hits to your site, or any web page you placed in the rotator.They do work, and are alot cheaper than Google Awords. At the same time however, a person going through a search engine to locate "stained glass supplies" would have a higher rate of purchase landing on a site from google then through people manually viewing your stained glass site on a Surf site., but your site was seen! It does work. And cost is much less!

    In a nutshell, I would count on sales more through google because people of actually searching for similar items than radonmly viewing sites, but I would rather have used ASD because its alot cheaper...

    The parallels to ASD's formula:

    Pay to advertise your site.
    Earn money with both programs.
    Guaranteed exposure to your site through funding.
    Both Google and ASD very lucrative.
    Back office
    Monthly payments

  23. My problem is I had an agreement with ASD to advertise my business . The Government took My rebate money that I had already had in my account and I had an agreement with ASD to receive rebates and advertise my business . I did not get my business advertised because the Government took all the money out of the business and they could not pay there staff , therefore they could not keep my contract with ASD . This has been a real problem as I sold others the advertisement and my name has been hurt as I share this with other business owners . They took our money and I did not receive a letter or any information about my money that ASD owes me . This is very troubling that they can do this with out any explanation or evidence or charges filed against ASD . This is a very effective enexpensive way to advertise that really works. Jerry

  24. HI Mike, thanks for investigating this ASD mystery, We , the members, appreciate any thing you can dig up about ASD and the government seizure of it. Keep up what your doing, it is much appreciated. Sincerely, Carlton

  25. I lost the only money I had, from the sale of my efficiency ($10,000). It is very painful and difficult as I am in the age bracquet of retiring

  26. Thank you for your comments - I expect to post another report later today. As you may know, today is the deadline for the AG to produce evidence in court.

    Also, please don't be offended if I can't respond to everyone, both my voicemail and email are full of responses from ASD members and I can assure you that I'm reading/listening to all of them.


    Mike Mason

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. I expect to get plenty of opposition from both sides but my job is to print both sides of the story and attribute my information to credible sources. I cannot predict how the story will turn out but I will get answers. In fact, Bowdoin's attorney has promised to call me by Monday to give us an update and I spoke with the US Attorney General's office today.
    Will post details soon,

    Mike Mason

  29. Really Mike, if you are going to play in this game, you need to get out of your loafers, get you game shoes on, put your aluminum bats away and pick up some heavy wood!!!

    Email to Patrick Pretty:


    Bob Guenther
    August 15, 2009 at 6:51 am | Permalink
    You are Amazing Patrick…

    What happened to all of those emails I sent you back in March. I told you everything that was going to happen, gave you the names of EVERY other BS auto surf that was launching with Andy and Busby’s help. I posted it all right on last DECEMBER. Remember you bitched openly that I was hammering you with emails.. Your in depth reporting even posted this article:

    All the BS you bought into regarding ASD, all the crap you bought from the super internet slueth Jack Arons and Moriarity, all of the information posted on Steve Watts "Joy Luck Club", all of the ASD winners and whinners, all of the ASD idiots who were dumb enough to think they could sit in front of a computer, work 10 minutes a day, and make $25,000 a month, all of this information has been feeding your BS, as well as the winners who made thousands and dont want to give it back…

    How about the thousands of good, hard working people who trusted Andy/Busby/ASD/Panda and put their savings, 401k’s, kids college funds, and even borrowed money to put is these scams??
    What have you done to HELP these peopl?

    The ASDMBA assisted it getting back over $400,000 from Busby before he tossed the towel in. We have over 2000 members, 98% of who have no complaints with our efforts or management of the funds.We held weekly conference calls for 7 months, answered thousands of phone calls and emails and assisted over 50 individuals get theri money back from their upline who swindled them out of their ASD investment money.

    Regardless of what all of these misinformed, arm chair lawyers say, most of whom didnt invest a dime in ASD or at the very most $500-$1000 dollars, there is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING that can be done until Judge Collyer rules that the Government gets the seized assets..

    She is allowing every lunatic out there to make a claim, even granting Andy more time, then when she rules, there will be no grounds for appeal, all these frivilous actions have done is delay her ruling and ALLOWED THE ASD WINNERS to spend and/or hide their gains.

    What about the PANDA MONEY??? Did you forget, the Government now legally has the seized funds, see the following:,%202009%20-%20GP%20Forefeiture%20Granted.pdf

    Now, where do you see the Feds spending one dime or one moment trying to give any of that money back, hell, my fellow car dealers cant even get paid thier money for a current “Cash for Clunkers” program and these ASD people think these inept, or crooked, or self serving Government employees of King Odumbba are going to willingly just hand over $150Million dollars to a bunch of average people, 20,000 or so of which are outside of the USA.. RIGHT!!!!

    There is a way, always has been a way.. The obvious sometimes blinds you.. It takes BALLS and it takes people willing to draw a line in the sand and fight. It also takes some money, not for lawyers, but to draw the line.. It’s comimg soon, you can help..

    Are you in or do you just want to talk/publish and tell intelligent people what we already know??

    As I always say, “Tell me something I don’t know and Ill listen, otherwise you are wasting my most valuable commodity, my time”…

    I’ve stayed away from most of the ASD forums and posts for the last 6bweeks or so, but this was just too good to pass up..

    You have my number, my email and my name… If not, here you go:

    Bob Guenther

  30. Mr. Mason:

    Thank you for investigating this story. I am very happy that an unbiased journalist is looking into this case. All we have wanted was a fair shake. A few points I would like to make: 1) I do not know the above commenter alasycia personally, but I believe she is not a former member of ASD. I have visited the site she recommended known as She has numerous posts on this site, and appears to be one of his cronies. On occasion she had insulted the intelligence of ASD members as being stupid & naive for signing up in the 1st place. That's why I doubt her having been a member. I have no problem with you checking out, as I am sure you will find it is a biased propaganda driven site. any questions I post on this site are either met with hate, or they reply and do not answer my question at all; they simply give me "the run-around. The overall attitude is that the GOV. can do no wrong, so ASD must have been Illegal, but they provide no proof to back their allegations. I also find it odd the "Mr. Pretty" will not give his real name. Am I wrong to think that if a journalist was reporting honestly, and fair he would be proud to make clear who he was. Also keep in mind that in early 2008 ASD was investigated, and given the green light to continue business. At that time the company did not have alot of funds, but was growing rapidly. Only until ASD funds reached 90 plus million dollars did the Government decide it was a PONZI scheme! That has always made no sense to me. All along my family, and I have been pondering what the difference was between GOOGLE ADSENSE, and ASD. The 1st comment is almost amusing, but very ignorant at the same time. First he berates you for trying to find the truth, and not just being a sheep. Second he wonders why Andy didn't start ASD back up. Am I wrong to think that anybody with a lick of sense would not have dared to do this while the case was under investigation? Also when you read the terms and conditions that ASD had on their page you will see that these rebates where in no way shape or form guaranteed or promised. This seems to be the backbone of the case, and the driving force behind the ASD opponents. My belief that the problem people and mostly politicians have with ASD is that the company shared it's profits with it's members. Give several hundred thousand people a share of the profits, ( one person might profit anywhere from $10, to $100,000 plus) and they use it to raise their family, and pay taxes, and live the life they once only dreamed of. Give a few people at the head of the company millions of dollars, and they can give much much bigger political contributions! I for one will not vilify you Mr. Mason. If you find that ASD got what it deserved, I will eat my humble pie. I simply believe that you will find that ASD should have never been in the position it is in, and that it was a legitimate company who share their profits with their customers. I find it funny that the nay-sayers are getting so very upset that an unbiased journalist is getting involved. What are they afraid of? I will end this for know, but plan on adding more comments in the future. Once again thank you MR. Mason for the fair shake we thought would never come. I wish you the best in your investigation. People like you are the reason, I am studying at my local community college to become a journalist. May you receive all the good karma you truly deserve.