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Law Enforcement Raids Tallahassee Internet Cafe [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett Email
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By: Mike Springer
March 14, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-A Tallahassee man accused of running two internet cafes raided by Federal agents went before a judge Thursday morning.

Reginald Medlin appeared in a Leon County Courtroom on charges of keeping a gambling house, money laundering and manufacturing the sale or possession of slot machines.

A judge ordered Medlin to be held on $250,000 dollars bond.

He will eventually be taken to Seminole County to face those charges.
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By: Lanetra Bennett
March 13, 2013

At least eight law enforcement officers waited as a locksmith opened the door to Allied Veterans Internet Center on South Monroe Street in Tallahassee.

It was just after 9:30 Wednesday morning when agents with the I.R.S., the Gambling Task Force, and the Leon County Sheriff's Office went inside to execute a search warrant.

"I think for the past three or four months I think they've been doing something illegal." Says, Martha Ratcliff, a frequent customer at Allied Veterans Internet Center.

The Highway 90 West location was also searched.

The Tallahassee cafes were on a list of 54 search warrants executed in 23 Florida counties and five other states.

FDLE says Allied Veterans was operating under the guise of "internet cafes."

They say the organization falsely claimed to be a charitable veterans' organization, but instead was a $300 million racketeering and money laundering scheme.

Customer Angela Hall says, "A lot of people have come here and spent lots and lots of money here thinking that they would win and knowing all the while they were stealing their money from them."

Agents came out of the Monroe Street center more than two hours after they went in carrying boxes and bags. Authorities seized slot machines and records.

There's a sign on the front door that says, 'Closed until further notice due to computer failure.'

Ratcliff says, "No, I'm not surprised on that because from what I could see, that's what it was leading to."

Ratcliff says she goes to the South Monroe Street location often. She says she's complained to management about the machines.

She says, "It'll just keep spinning and spinning and spinning. When you hit 'reveal,' it's supposed to spin one time. But, it was doing like 20. you hit 'reveal,' it'll do 20, sometimes not stop. Everybody was complaining about this."


NEWS RELEASE

Multi-state gambling, racketeering, and money laundering organization dismantled

~57 conspirators tied to running gambling centers under guise of “internet cafes”~

SEMINOLE CO. (March 13, 2013) – Local, state and federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors today announced the charging of 57 individuals for their roles in an organized $300 million conspiracy orchestrated by Allied Veterans of the World. 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.” The organization falsely claimed to be a charitable veterans’ organization, but instead deceived the public and government while lining the pockets of its operators.

Law enforcement officers yesterday began executing 54 search warrants and 57 arrest warrants in 23 Florida counties and five additional states, rounding up individuals and evidence involved in the conspiracy. Investigators 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 estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

Allied Veterans of the World was led by four co-conspirators: Johnny Duncan, 62, of Boiling Springs, S.C., Jerry Bass, 62, of Jacksonville, Fla., Chase Burns, 37, of Fort Cobb, Okla., and Kelly Mathis, 49, also of Jacksonville, Fla. 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.

The organization is federally registered as a 501(c)(19), a tax-exempt veterans organization, and touts that it operates for charitable purposes. Instead, investigators allege it ran gambling centers and illegal slot machines, funneling the illegal proceeds through a sophisticated web of for-profit corporations that paid off the Allied Veterans of the World management, software provider and lawyer. More than 100 for-profit corporations and a combination of shell companies and internet cafes were utilized to conceal the illegal activity and funds generated by the gambling centers. Investigators found 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 believe the four co-conspirators received a combined more than $90 million in proceeds from the scheme. They were charged with Racketeer and Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO); RICO conspiracy; manufacture, sale, possession of slot machines; lottery; keeping gambling houses; and money laundering. Duncan was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Facility (South Carolina), Bass was booked into the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Jail, Burns was booked into the Caddo County Jail (Oklahoma), and Mathis was booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County.

The other 53 conspirators (see attached list) are associated with the illicit enterprise and operated the gambling centers, hiding their portion of a combined $194 million in gambling proceeds. These subjects reside in Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia. They face multiple counts of gambling, slot machines, lottery, money laundering and RICO. As of 1 p.m. today, 49 have been arrested. Among them are Nelson Cuba, 48, and Robert Freitas, 47, both of Jacksonville, Fla. The two are law enforcement officers who serve as the President and Vice-President of the Fraternal Order of Police’s Jacksonville Lodge. 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.

All charges are first degree felonies and all of the subjects arrested will be initially held on a no bond status.

Operation “Reveal the Deal” began in July 2009 and was conducted by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Secret Service. The agencies worked in partnership with the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the United States Attorney’s Office.

For a copy of the charging affidavit, go to: http://www.seminolesheriff.org/media/Login.aspx . Please note there are two files available for download: the affidavit and the related items. User name is scsomedia and password is m3diaUser1


WCTV was first on scene and is still investigating. Law enforcement went inside the internet cafe around 9:40 am. They are still inside.

We'll bring you more information as it becomes available.


Tallahassee, FL - About a dozen law enforcement officers are inside a Tallahassee Internet Café.

The Allied Veterans cafe is located on South Monroe Street in the Winn Dixie shopping plaza.

WCTV was first on the scene this morning. Our reporter arrived just after 9 a.m. At that time, investigators were waiting outside the café.
A locksmith let them inside the building.

Agents are still on scene.

Federal agents have been investigating the Allied Veterans of the World. Officials from that non-profit internet cafe company were recently arrested on racketeering charges. The owner was arrested Tuesday in connection to allegations that he made $290 million after supplying illegal gambling software in Florida and claiming the games' proceeds would benefit a veterans group.

Authorities also interviewed Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll who resigned from office this morning.


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