Update: federal probe into Allied Vets leads to Florida arrests
Update: Jacksonville television is reportiong that the sweep has reached Florida and the head of a local gambling non-profit was arrested there this morning.
Jerry Bass is the National Commander of Allied Veterans of the World Inc. and Affiliates, Action News Jacksonville reported. He was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail this morning. His arrest is the result of a six-year long investigation that spans throughout Florida and other parts of the country. Here's their report.
Meanwhile, one of Florida's largest operators of internet cafes, Chase Burns of Florida Gaming Promotions and the International Internet Technolgies, is under federal investigation for operating illegal gambling operations in Florida, according to a report in the Oklahoman.
Here's the story by reporter Nolan Clay:
Federal investigators allege the owner of an Anadarko company is involved in an illegal gambling operation in Florida that made more than $290 million.
The owner, Chase Burns, 37, denies wrongdoing. “That’s not true,” he said Monday. “What we do is legal.”
His company, International Internet Technologies LLC, supplied gambling software to Internet casinos in Florida that posed as fundraising centers for veterans’ charities, authorities allege.
The company, also known as IIT, has been paid more than $63 million for its computer work for the illegal gambling operation, authorities reported.
An Oklahoma City federal magistrate judge Monday authorized a search of the IIT building in Anadarko for evidence of “conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, operating an illegal gambling business and money laundering.”
In an affidavit for the search warrant, an Internal Revenue Service agent reported the fundraising centers in Florida began operating in 2007 under the name of a nonprofit corporation, Allied Veterans of the World Inc. & Affiliates.
“In fact, the ‘fundraising centers’ were nothing more than Internet casinos that operated slot machines in violation of Florida’s gambling laws,” IRS Special Agent Michael Favors wrote.
“The Internet casinos that used the Allied Veterans name were not the only ones that operated in Florida,” he wrote.
“Unlike some other Internet casinos, however, Allied Veterans and others engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud the public and governmental agencies into believing that the money spent, and lost, at the Internet casinos that used the Allied Veterans name went to a charitable organization that was a member of the Veterans Administration.
The agent reported Allied Veterans represented that anywhere from 70 percent to all of its net proceeds from the centers went to charitable causes, but actually only about 2 percent did.
“For the time period from 2007 to early 2012, investigators found evidence of over $6 million in what appear to be charitable donations by Allied Veterans.
“That amount, however, was only about 2 percent of the over $290 million in proceeds … made from the gambling operations during that time period,” the IRS agent reported.
“Instead of going to charity as is represented, the vast majority of the revenue earned from the gambling operation went to for-profit companies and the individuals who operated Allied Veterans and its ‘Affiliates.’ To hide the true nature of its gambling operation from the public, Allied Veterans and others resorted to fraud and misrepresentations,” the IRS agent reported.
The agent also reported that Allied Veterans claimed it sold its Internet casinos last April when it actually did not.
“With a few exceptions, the for-profit companies that allegedly purchased the Internet casinos are the same ones that were already operating them,” the agent reported.
A criminal charge is expected to be filed against Burns this month. He is the son of former District Attorney Tony Burns.
In addition to directing the operations of IIT, Chase Burns owned two of the Florida Internet casinos, federal authorities allege.
The investigation into the Florida Internet casinos has been under way for years.
Agents conducted surveillance of the IIT building in Anadarko in November 2011 and December 2012, according to the search warrant affidavit.