Historic City News has obtained the charging affidavit from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office that lays out the evidence gathered in a four-year investigation of an organized $300 million conspiracy orchestrated by Allied Veterans of the World that led to arrests and charges against 57 individuals for their roles.
Operation “Reveal the Deal” uncovered a sophisticated racketeering and money laundering scheme; stemming from 49 illegal gambling centers operating under the guise of “Internet cafes”, according to the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials began executing 54 search warrants and 57 arrest warrants yesterday in 23 Florida counties and five additional states; rounding up individuals and evidence involved in the conspiracy. As of 1:00 p.m. today, 49 have been arrested.
A spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told Historic City News and other reporters this afternoon that Allied Veterans of the World falsely claimed to be a charitable veterans’ organization, but instead deceived the public and government while lining the pockets of its operators.
Allied Veterans of the World was led by four men:
Johnny Duncan, 62, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina
Jerry Bass, 62, of Jacksonville
Chase Burns, 37, of Fort Cobb, Oklahoma
Kelly Mathis, 49, also of Jacksonville.
Duncan serves as the former national commander of the organization, Bass is the current commander, and Mathis is the organization’s attorney. Burns owns and operates International Internet Technologies and provided the software used by the gambling centers.
They were charged with Racketeer and Influenced Corrupt Organizations; conspiracy; manufacture, sale, possession of slot machines; lottery; keeping gambling houses; and money laundering.
Allied Veterans of the World is a federally registered 501(c)(19) tax-exempt veterans organization, and touts that it operates for charitable purposes.
However, investigators found evidence that, during the period January 2008 to January 2012, less than 2 percent of the $300 million in gambling center revenues was given to charity.
Investigators allege gambling centers and illegal slot machines, funneled illegal proceeds through a sophisticated web of for-profit corporations that paid off the Allied Veterans of the World management, software provider, and lawyer. They believe that, combined, the four co-conspirators received more than $90 million in proceeds from the criminal enterprise.
Officers are seizing slot machines and records from Allied Veterans of the World gambling centers across the state — as well as 80 vehicles and vessels, 170 properties, and 260 bank accounts; with balances estimated in the tens-of-millions of dollars.
More than 100 for-profit corporations and a combination of shell companies and Internet cafes were said to have been utilized to conceal the illegal activity and funds generated by the gambling centers.
Nelson Cuba, 48, and Robert Freitas, 47, both of Jacksonville, are law enforcement officers who serve as the President and Vice-President of the Jacksonville Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The investigation found they received more than $500,000 through a shell corporation during an 18-month period. The two withdrew cash weekly, attempting to avoid detection by removing amounts just below mandatory federal reporting requirements.
Cuba and Freitas both face the additional money laundering charge of structuring transactions to evade reporting or registration requirements. They were booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County.
The other 53 conspirators are associated with the illicit enterprise and operated the gambling centers — hiding their portion of a combined $194 million in gambling proceeds. They reside in Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia and currently face multiple counts of gambling, slot machines, lottery, money laundering and RICO. All charges are first degree felonies and all of the subjects arrested will be initially held on a no bond status.
Category: Public Safety