Alleged Ponzi scheme operator Thomas A. Bowdoin, Jr. has just learned a harsh lesson to read the fine print. Which could be construed as ironic, or come-uppance, or just plain sad for this 74-year-old Florida resident.
Mr. Bowdoin was the, let's say, mastermind behind Ad Surf Daily. Ad Surf Daily promoted "advertising packages" that promised "extraordinary benefits." He collected millions of dollars. Florida state officials, though, called his business a classic "pyramid" operation. His good thing collapsed.
Last year, federal officials sought to seize some of Mr. Bowdoin's Florida property in Quincy, Fla. On advice of his attorney, Steven Dobson, he first agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department. Said Bowdoin:
"Given the possibility of a long prison term, I agreed not to exercise my rights in the civil forfeiture
proceeding, anticipating from representations made by Dobson that this could possibly keep me out of prison."
But when he learned that prison, in fact, remained a possibility, Bowdoin sought to back out of his agreement. Now, in a development worth keeping in mind if you plan on trying to cut a deal with prosecutors, or with attorneys who are trying to cut the deal, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer has ruled that Bowdoin should have known the contingencies he was involved with.
The bottom line:
"Mr. Bowdoin completely understood what he was doing: releasing his claims and cooperating to 'possibly avoid a prison sentence.'
In other words: nail it down.