SEC Shuts Down $50 Million Autosurf Ponzi Scam - InformationWeek

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2/28/2006
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SEC Shuts Down $50 Million Autosurf Ponzi Scam

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against the owner of an Autosurf site who it accused of running a $50 million Ponzi scam and pocketing nearly $2 million.

For her part, Johnson posted a message to the 12dailypro.com message boards -- from which she is now banned -- saying that she would release "a statement regarding a compromise that has been reached between 12dp with authorities that will lead to the resolution of this matter and the beginnings of an accounting and refund process." No statement has yet been issued.

Earlier, Johnson had blamed 12dailypro.com's troubles on a payment dispute with StormPay, said that the autosurf operation was legitimate, and denied any wrong-doing.

When the FBI announced it had begun its investigation, Johnson had said, "Let me assure you, had they deemed this to be a scam, I would not be chatting with you right now. I would be in custody."

Even now, she remained combative. Once kicked off the 12dailypro.com message forum, she started a blog, and posted an entry Monday criticizing the SEC's move.

"Keep in mind that the SEC never interviewed us, never talked with us, never examined our data, never looked at our bank accounts, and never examined our books before placing this filing," Johnson said on the blog. "All information came from outside sources, primarily StormPay and an ex-convict seeking media exposure."

The ex-con Johnson referred to was Barry Minkow, who served seven years in federal prison for a multi-million dollar fraud committed in the 1980s. Minkow, who has written several books, went straight and now is a recognized fraud expert who works with a firm called Fraud Discovery Institute.

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