DOJ Files Complaint Against Internet Ad Company

    August 6, 2008

The U.S. Department of Justice wants to seize the property and $53 million from the owner of a Florida- based Internet company that allegedly was involved in a massive Ponzi scheme.

A Ponzi scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, who around 100 years ago tricked thousand of New Englanders into investing their money with him. Money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors until the scheme collapses.

The DOJ filed a civil forfeiture complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to keep the property owned by Thomas Bowdion Jr., owner of AdSurfDaily (ASD), which operates, and

The complaint alleges that from January 2007 to the present ASD operated a "paid auto-surf program." Under the program ASD generated advertising revenue by automatically rotating Web sites into its investor’s browsers. To attract investors ASD said it would pay a return of between 125 percent and 150 percent on each dollar  investor’s gave to the company. In return investor’s agreed to view a couple of Web sites for a couple of minutes each day.

To mask the scheme, ASD referred to its investors as "advertisers," their payments as "ad purchases" and its payments as "rebates."

ASD did not operate as a seller of advertising services and there was no product being sold to support the profits the company claimed it would pay its investors. The company was creating no significant 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. 

The investigation is ongoing and no criminal charges have been filed at this point.