Close to Fifty Arrested in Allied Veterans Investigation
March 13, 2013| WMFE - About fifty people have been arrested in connection with an alleged illegal gambling operation run through internet cafes across Florida. At a press conference to announce the charges in Orlando Wednesday Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi described the scheme as "despicable."
[Image: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks at a press conference on operation "Reveal the Deal" in Orlando Wednesday]
The three-year operation included local, state and federal law enforcement, and targeted internet cafes run by the Allied Veterans of the World at 23 counties across Florida – including Seminole County where the investigation began.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says the charity was actually a sophisticated, multi-state gambling, racketeering and money laundering scheme.
“Using the word charity to cover a scheme is not only wrong but it’s callous and despicable. Claiming to be an organization designed to help veterans in order to run an illegal scheme insults every American who ever wore a military uniform,” said Bondi.
Investigators say less than 2 per cent of the $300 million dollars in revenues generated by the scheme was given to charity.
The four alleged leaders of the organization are Johnny Duncan of South Carolina, Jerry Bass of Jacksonville Florida, Chase Burns of Oklahoma and Kelly Mathis of Jacksonville.
All of the alleged conspirators face charges including racketeering, gambling, slot machines and money laundering.
Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, who consulted for Allied Veterans when she was a Florida state house representative in 2009 and 2010, has resigned in the wake of the investigation.
“Lt. Gov. Carroll resigned yesterday in an effort to keep her former affiliations with the company from distracting from our important work on behalf of Florida families," said Gov. Scott in a statement.