The state Attorney General's Office has filed a lawsuit seeking millions in damages against a north Florida company called AdSurfDaily. It accuses the company of bilking investors out of more than $100-million in a Ponzi scheme.
The suit was filed Wednesday after U.S. Secret Service agents raided the company's Quincy headquarters, northwest of Tallahassee. State officials said federal authorities are also pursuing a separate criminal case against the company, and have frozen $53-million of its funds.
In June, AdSurfDaily, under the name ASD, held a convention at the Tampa Marriott Waterside, where it sold packages of online advertisements to as many as 2,000 customers. Priced at thousands of dollars, the ad packages allegedly promised 150 percent returns. But the state claims they were a get-rich-quick scheme, where only a few people at the top of the company were getting rich.
Along with another Florida convention in Miami, the state's lawsuit claims the company took more than $100-million from consumers in Florida alone.
AdSurfDaily, which calls itself an Internet marketing company, is accused of promising huge returns on investors' money, but in reality made no real investments, instead relying on new investors to keep it going.
AdSurfDaily claims to have thousands of U.S. investors.
Florida attorney general spokesperson Sandi Copes said the state has been preparing legal action against AdSurfDaily and its president, Andy Bowdoin Jr., since late July after receiving about 20 complaints.
Copes said potential victims have not yet been identified, but the state is making a list in the run-up to court proceedings.
AdSurfDaily associates could not be reached for comment. Calls to the company's Quincy office were greeted by a recording from a man who says he is company president Bowdoin.
"We're getting our customer service people to do other work so we can get everything caught up for when we get back into action," the recording said. "We have some of the best legal minds in the nation working to resolve our issues. ... Until it's resolved, keep the faith."
Meanwhile, dozens of customer testimonials can be found on YouTube and online message boards raving about how easy and profitable AdSurfDaily can be. Other online chatter about the company also uses words like "scam" and "pyramid scheme."
Dominick Tao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8751.