Why Bringing ASD down saved the participants, whether they know it or not
Greggory B. Evans, PhD
The members of internet Ponzi scheme Ad Surf Daily ASD Cash Generator are a pretty vocal crowd, and some of them have active imaginations, too. The root cause if this is, like many internet scams, ASD preyed upon people who have an incredible ignorance about business in general and how “real companies” work in particular. Read their own support chat room and you find all manner of “evil government took down a perfectly legitimate company that no one had complained about” themes, some of them absurd enough to claim the prosecutors have in fact admitted they made a mistake but didn’t put it in writing and they’re going to go ahead and put President Andy Bowdoin in jail, simply because they can’t find a way out of the mess without losing face.
Let me make this as plain as I can, ASD was a cheap ponzi scheme, new members money was used to pay older members (and of course, Andy managed to skim a few million for himself), there was no outside income and despite a clause in their Terms of Service that did not guarantee rebates, there were in fact at least three references to these payments that could and were construed to conflict with that. Legally, as soon as one dollar of new member money was paid to an older member, they broke the law, case closed. ASD has made a very public fight in the courts, but it’s only impressive to those unschooled in the law, at least one of the major motions filed is the brunt of jokes on a website frequented by attorneys who practice before the federal bar, one lawyer describing it as “read as though they were written by a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.” These filings are clearly intended for the unschooled masses and no one who was ever admitted to the bar thinks they have much chance of prevailing.
The “Emergency Motion” filed to release seized funds asked the court to grant an evidentiary hearing, which the government chose not to oppose. The real comedy started when the court then issued subpoenas for the hearing that ASD asked for, only ASD through counsel decided to file to quash these subpoenas and claimed if ASD management was compelled to appear they would exercise their 5th amendment rights and refuse to answer questions. The faithful, as is typical of several of these financial cults of late, somehow managed to paint this train wreck as a quasi-victory, or explained it away as a government plot to entrap the good people in management, one going so far as to say “Andy is too honest to testify”. You can’t make this stuff up, pure stupid on a stick. Even more ironic, when their erstwhile messiah wisely chose to make himself invisible for a hearing he requested, at least three of the members are going to travel to Washington so THEY can testify, and at this time it appears none of them will avail themselves any legal assistance, they trust the companies attorneys, bless their hearts.
I’m sorry I can’t be there to see the skinning they’re going to get when an Assistant US Attorney gets to cross examine them. Stop a moment and think about this. These people are going to travel from all over the country to testify, and subject themselves to cross examination, without counsel, on behalf of a man who has stolen millions of dollars, from them. For the love of Bob, did these mental giants reproduce? It’s not entirely unlikely a few of them may end up indicted.
And that brings me to the next part. A federal grand jury is sitting in the District Of Columbia right now, hearing evidence of the case. The members, none of them likely to ever win the Nobel Prize in Economics anyhow, have never questioned why ASD has never produced audited accounts, if this was a legitimate business the whole manner could have been settled in a few hours if only they had a good accounting of the money. In the motion to allow them to operate under court supervision they offered to allow an accountant of their choosing look at their business model, but no one has yet said they even have auditors presently and I am certain that no accountant would or indeed could certify any of their books with at least an adverse opinion. Again, this is something painfully obvious to anyone with any experience in business, accounting or law, but lost on the ill informed “business persons” who accept that a company can rebate you 125% of their revenue and be a viable going concern.
Anyhow, getting back to the title, ASD was not a good business, it was just another ponzi scheme, what makes it special is the government chose to take it down while everyone was still at least marginally (there had been a history of some payout delays) still getting paid. Due Diligence does not consist of ‘It’s still paying”. I think most people with simple math skills can figure out that ALL ponzi schemes pay out for a time, it’s how they grow. The government saved $93 million and change on this one, but when a real accountant gets a look at the books members will be surprised to find that ASD owed something to the tune of half a Billion with a B dollars if not more. Published reports not refuted by ASD claim $100 million was taken in at 3 membership rallies in the last months, money that was not only matched by ASD one for one, but also matched to the person who referred them , creating a liability from these events alone of $375 million. Although the vocal minority of members who still hope and believe it was all real most have in fact moved on, some may not know, some may think it a lost cause, a large part knew all along it was a scam and either had their seed money already out or want to keep a low profile because they have seen the ugly things that happen when the feds go after the members in these scams (and count on it, they will here, too).
ASD claimed over 100,000 members, government investigators put the number at 70,000 but the loony bunch on chat boards are a few hundred only, either in too deep to let go or too ignorant to know better, you’d almost feel sorry for them but to tell the truth, some of them are pretty rude and obnoxious people. And of course, some of them are just dumber than sack of hammers. Chalk it up to financial Darwinism, some people are just too thick to have pocket money and when they manage to get some they find a way to let a thief have it. HYIPS and Autosurfs count on it and they seem to have no trouble finding them. Know this, kids, the sooner a ponzi scheme gets shut down, the fewer people in the end get ripped off. You’re not mad because someone derailed your gravy train, you’re mad because they did it before you got your gravy out. Please think of your sacrifice in terms of how many people never heard of it and therefore never invested. They didn’t lose anything, and though they’ll never complain they are unknowingly grateful.
Greedy, gullible and ignorant people are not in short supply on the internet, but the ASD crowd strikes me as being the All Star Team of Stupid when it comes to internet suckers. Good luck kids, I doubt it will do you much good, but you need all the help you can get. Failing all else, allow me to make a little suggestion, get a job and earn an honest living, there is no free lunch, no matter how many times you click the mouse.