Allied Veterans of the World, established in 1979, is reportedly a front for a five state illegal gambling syndicate according to a Fox News report on Mar. 13, 2013. The charity is based in Florida, and has ties to the state's lieutenant governor Jennifer Carroll. Carroll's public relations company represented the charity.
Carroll resigned her post as lieutenant governor on Mar. 13, in the wake of the probe into illegal gambling in the state. It is not yet known if Carroll will be implicated in the scandal through her connection to the charity.
The charity is accused of laundering nearly $300 million in illegal gambling profits, "57 arrest warrants and 54 search warrants issued at gambling operations in 23 Florida counties and five other states: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Nevada and Pennsylvania," according to Florida authorities.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the forthcoming criminal charges against the charity include, racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and possession of slot machines. Bondi described the group's scam as "callous and despicable," and "insults every American who ever wore a military uniform."
Florida Gov. Rick Scott accepted Carroll's resignation which reportedly had no indication of her reason for resigning. In a statement Scott said "I will not elaborate on the details of her resignation further, other than to say that she resigned and she made the right decision for the state and her family."
According to the Internal Revenue Service, Allied Veterans of the World is suspected of operating at least 40 illegal gambling locations in Florida. In an affidavit the IRS stated, "In an effort to mislead the public into believing that it is not profiting from an illegal gambling enterprise, Allied Veterans and others have engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud."
Jacksonville Attorney Kelly Mathis is arrested as the ringleader of the scheme. Mathis raked in $6 million in personal gains from the operation. From 2007-2012 the groups' estimated profit is $290 million. The money collected by the group did not benefit the veterans, it went to for-profit companies, the individuals who operated Allied Veterans and its so-called "affiliates."
Fox News reports, "Authorities said they seized about 300 bank accounts containing $64.7 million and assets including such exotic vehicles as Maserati, Porsche and Ferrari. To play games at one of the Internet cafes, a customer gets a prepaid card and then goes to a computer to play "sweepstakes." The games, with spinning wheels similar to slot machines, have names such as "Captain Cash," `'Lucky Shamrocks" and "Money Bunny," according to the IRS. Winners go back to a cashier with their cards and cash out."