Brevard Internet Cafe Managers Face Felony Charges
By Space Coast Daily // March 14, 2013
State's Lieutenant Governor Resigns
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – A seven-state crackdown and investigation of the non-profit Allied Veterans of the World internet cafes has led to the arrest of three people in Brevard County and resulted in the resignation of the state’s lieutenant governor.
Jennifer Carroll submitted her resignation as Lt. Governor to Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday following an interview by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents.
Across Florida and five other states on Wednesday, “Operation Reveal the Deal” involving seven different law enforcement agencies yielded 57 arrests of Allied Veterans of the World employees — three coming in Brevard County — and the subsequent shuttering of all of the company’s internet café sites including locations in Melbourne, Suntree and Merritt Island.
Taken into custody Wednesday were local Allied Veterans of the World café managers Chassidy Jones of Melbourne and Brent and Stephanie Weeks of Rockledge.
State Attorney General Pam Bondi said those arrested face first degree felony charges and will be held on a no bond status.
“It is shameful that Allied Veterans of the World allegedly attempted to use the guise of a charitable organization to help veterans in order to lend credibility to this $300 million illegal gambling scheme,” Bondi said.
“The Office of Statewide Prosecution will be filing formal charges related to illegal gambling, racketeering and money laundering, and they will prosecute the participants in the scheme to the fullest extent of the law.”
Carroll has not been arrested, but performed public relations work for Allied Veterans of the World before running for lieutenant governor.
The Allied Veterans of the World reportedly has collected more than $300 million alone in the last five years through gambling sites that skirted local laws, but only has given out about 2 percent to veterans’ charities.
According to investigators, Allied Veterans was operating a detailed racketeering and money laundering set-up with illegal slot machines and funneled illegal proceeds through a series of corporations that channeled money back to Allied Veterans of the World managers.
Bondi said more arrests are possible as the investigation widens.
Last August a man who was part of a trio of suspected robbers was shot by a security guard at the Allied Veterans of the World Café site at 3299 S. Babcock Street in Melbourne.