Gambling Scheme Hits Florida’s Top Government Officials
Arrests in Seminole County for Gambling and Racketeering for cases arising out of Internet Casinos connected to Allied Veterans are shaking the nonprofit world. These findings also led to the resignation of Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, Jennifer Carroll. According to Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger, the investigation of Allied Veterans of the World these past couple weeks resulted in more than 50 arrests in six states. Beginning in 2009 and based on citizen complaints, the concern was about the numerous internet casinos in strip malls all throughout Florida.
The most prominent individual arrested in the investigation was a lawyer in Jacksonville who is alleged to be one of the masterminds of the operation. The operation has affected the nonprofit world because Allied Veterans of the World is a nonprofit organization that contributes thousands (if not millions) of dollars a years to commonly disadvantaged organizations such as public schools, Veteran organizations and homeless shelters.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the suspects will generally face charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering, keeping a gambling house, and other counts. A racketeering conviction is punishable by as much as 30 years in prison, and some of the suspects may be facing literally thousands of charges. You can read more about the internet gambling sting here.
According to the search warrant, police and law enforcement claimed Allied Veterans of the World raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from a fraud ring that used Internet Cafes as a front throughout Florida. The nonprofit company claimed that 70% of all of their proceeds would be heading back to the Veterans Administration, according to court documents. However, federal investigators found their donations were a far cry from that estimate. After seizing evidence in two states and pouring through more than 30 bank accounts, federal investigators allegedly found only 2% of all of the proceeds were charitably given to the Veterans Administration, or about $6 million over their investigated period of time. According to court documents, Allied Veterans of the World Inc and Affiliates is documented to have made $290 million from 2007 through early 2012; most of that money was not given away to charity or the Veterans Administration.
Other than the alleged ringleaders, arrest warrants will be served on many potentially unsuspecting employees of these internet cafes, many of whom have no knowledge that the proceeds were not used in the way Allied Veterans told them they would be designated.
If you have been arrested for gambling, fraud, or money laundering arising out of a Seminole court warrant related to the Allied Veterans operation, please contact an experienced gambling charge lawyer as soon as possible. Many options may be available to you, especially if you were not aware of the illegal nature of your employment considering the fact you believed you were involved in a nonprofit organization.