Mathis Looks Forward To Appeal After Sentencing

..Key Trial Evidence Withheld From Jury..
SANFORD, Florida – The long drawn battle in Jacksonville, finally hit bottom as Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. sentenced one of Jacksonville’s lawyers, Kelly Mathis six years jail time for orchestrating the Allied Veterans’ gambling ring in a controversial trial that many claim was unjust.Kmathis
Mathis aged 50, who served as the former head of the Jacksonville bar and president of the Jacksonville Association of Defense Counsel remains free while under appeal. The Jacksonville lawyer who insisted his innocence during the trial filed an appeal right after the verdict was read.
Originally, Mathis along with 57 other people connected to the Allied Veterans of the World was charged and was found guilty of 103 out of 104 counts which included on 51 misdemeanor counts of illegal slot machines, 51 counts of third degree felony illegal lottery, and first degree felony racketeering.
Lester sentenced Mathis to five years for the 50 counts of lottery operation, time served for 50 counts of possession of illegal gambling machines like slots and six years on one count of racketeering.sweeps bucket
According to the prosecution, Mathis was the brain behind the chain of internet cafes worth around $290 million of gambling operation camouflaged as the veteran’s charity. Furthermore, Mathis allegedly earned around $6 million from the veteran’s charity scam which he invested on 112 businesses.
“What this case boils down to is everyone here took a gamble: There’s a lot of money here. It’s worth the risk,” Lester declared.
In March 2013, Mathis along with Jerry Bass, chief of the Allied Veterans of the World and a score of other people was arrested in Duval County as a result of a six –year cross county investigation. Among them were former Jacksonville police union president Nelson Cuba with vice president Robbie Freitas. The rest of the defendants await their trial.
Moreover, the veteran’s charity scandal also cued the resignation of Florida’s Governor Jennifer Carroll after she was questioned by law enforcements on her involvement with the Allied Veterans of the World.
“I’m relieved a little bit because I think I’ll prevail on appeal. But I’m still scared, still concerned about this whole thing. I don’t know what I’m going to have to do with my life now,” Mathis expressed while he hold his wife Donna Mathis outside the courtroom.
Mathis wife was the most emotional of all saying that her husband stands for honor, integrity, nobility, just to name a few.
“He did not, he would not, break the law,” declared Mrs. Mathis.
Mathis legal adviser Mitch Stone believed they have strong grounds for an appeal.
“The state here said all along we are going to prove this is gambling that this is about gambling. If that’s the case, then why

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

did they not go after 1,450 other Internet cafes that were doing the exact same thing” Stone asked.

On the other hand, prosecutor Nick Cox said he cannot believe Mathis still professing innocence after the trial. He mentioned that he don’t like prosecuting lawyers because it gives all of them a black eye.
“However, in the end, this case really was about deception and misleading people into what they were really doing,” said Cox



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Local And State Officials Seem To Give ‘OK’ To Internet Cafe Legality


SANFORD, FLORIDA — On Wednesday, in front of a packed courtroom, Jacksonville’s retired deputy general counsel testified that the internet sweepstakes games in the Allied Veterans of the World Internet cafes were legal.florida seal

Steve Rohan testified under oath that he met with Allied’s attorney, Kelly Mathis, several times in 2007 to discuss the city’s ordinances that would come into play with Allied Veterans’ operations.

Mathis is on trial in Sanford, where he faces more than 100 charges of racketeering, possession of a slot machine and conducting a lottery. The judge dismissed over 4 dozen of the money laundering charges after the prosecution rested its case Tuesday.

Rohan and a former assistant state attorney in Volusia County both testified under oath that they believed Mathis was proposing a legal operation for the Allied Veterans centers.

“That was my opinion,” Rohan testified Wednesday. “We would not be advocating for a business that was in violation of state law.”

Rohan said Wednesday Mathis was open about setting up the sweepstakes games, which resembled gambling but did not fit the description that the state had defined.

Customers of the cafes sign a form that says they were purchasing Internet time. Sweepstakes entries were included for free. A business model almost identical to McDonalds Monopoly game.

“The (sweepstakes) exception Mr. Mathis proposed, while people might not like it, was a legitimate exception,” said Rohan.

Mathis told Rohan that a percentage of proceeds were going to a veterans’ charity. Eventually, poker rooms and local dog tracks wanted an ordinance to prohibit sweepstakes parlors in the city, which were run by several companies.

“Neither the state attorney nor the sheriff were trying to cease their operations,” Rohan said. The public, however, wanted the Internet cafes to remain open. ”People spoke at our City Council meeting and demanded the ability to go to them,” Rohan said.

Mitch Stone, Mathis’ defense attorney, showed jurors a document from the state Department of Agriculture that said legal sweepstakes games in Florida must resemble the McDonald’s Monopoly game, where a ticket that might win a prize, is given away with a purchase.

Allied Veterans gave customers an electronic “scratch-off” ticket when they bought Internet time, and the players could only be revealed on a computer on the inside the cyber sweepstakes cafe.

Several prosecution witnesses, customers of the cafes said they thought they were gambling and seemed confused to hear in court that they were simply learning from the computer whether their tickets were winners.

“The use of the computer was a fun way to find out whether you won or lost,” said Daniel Leising, a former assistant state attorney in Volusia County describing the ‘entertaining display’.

Leising said he met with Mathis and found that the Allied Veterans Business Model followed state law.

Jacksonville attorney Ed Akel said that while Mathis was listed as the registered agent for Allied Veterans, that did not make him a partner or give him a business interest in the company that took in $300 million as a veterans’ charity, while giving only 2 percent, or $6 million, to veterans – the same amount Mathis made in legal fees.

The prosecution ended their case Monday, almost 3 weeks shy of the four-week estimate.

The defense has a list of nearly 400 witnesses to choose from and will present at least six witnesses today, Stone said.




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New Gaming Software Fits Skill Game and Sweepstakes Business Model


New Gaming Software Fits Skill Game and Sweepstakes Business Model

The business of low-stakes, adult-only gaming spring back to operation across South Florida after HB-155 became law.

The law does not call for an outright ban on senior arcade. However, its restrictions like not allowing gift cards to

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

be given away as prizes making it less attractive to patrons have forced senior arcades into retirement.

Owner of Happy Patel’s , Mike Patel calculates that about 1 out of every 4 have reopened, though not every location belongs to the association. He added that about 20 members have shut down for good while the rest are still trying to figure things out.

Patel says “everyone is willing to comply with the law and play with the new set of rules.”

“We’ve been closed for more than three months, and we had to change how we operate,” says arcade owner Omar Shula; noting that together with industry lawyers and Mr Patel, they have visited the Broward Sheriff’s Office before opening to make sure they are compliant with the law.

“We don’t want to break the law, but the law as it is so vague we don’t know,” Omar adds.

Mr Patel expresses that state legislators failed to understand the how vague the law was and how he had been advised by his attorney that the law may be thrown out because of the vagueness.

“Everybody is taking a different approach, because the law is so ridiculous. This is not an industry that’s going to go away without a fight. We didn’t do anything wrong. The law went through like a locomotive. Had it been slowed down any, the truth would have come out,” Mr Patel declares.

Internet cafes and senior arcades owners have filed lawsuits to amend the law on business operation.

Alan Dershowitz, author, TV commentator and Harvard law professor who represents an internet café in Homestead claims being denied its First Amendment right. He argued that the law improperly expands the definition of a slot machine to include any device, such as a cell phone or PC that can access a network.



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‘Reel Deel’ Sweepstakes Case Looses Expert Witness Robert Sertell


– State Will Not Call Their Only Expert Witness

A Jacksonville internet café owner is reopening his business and paying out cash to players,  taking a gamble by defying a state law banning such operations.

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

The Legislature says it’s gambling and three months ago, Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill outlawing Internet cafes. This came following the arrest of the former head of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police and local attorney, along with operators of Allied Veterans of the World Internet cafes.

A Westside business, Pete’s Cyber Café on Normandy Boulevard, not associated with them, has made some changes and reopened its doors using PreReval Sweepstakes as its new game provider.

When customer Mary Love found out that Pete’s Retreat was paying out cash to winners, she said she would give it a try. She had just learned that one of her favorite places was open.

Love said that even if she didn’t like it, she would come in once in a while just to get away when she saw they are open again. In order to fall in line with the law, the café’s  general manager Pete Miller said that the business had changed the machines.

According to Miller, “They don’t resemble slot machines or things like that anymore, and they picked it apart and rewrote the software to comply with the statue as currently written.”

The machines before would spin like slot machines but now they don’t spin and just reveal like a curtain when you win.

Now the machines do something else too like show the customers in advance if they had won. It lets them know if they won or not. They can also choose whether or not co continue and get a payout but they can’t change the amount of cash they choose to bet.

They had planned on beating the law this way and right now they’re waiting to see if they would be closed down or maybe arrested.

Miller expressed his concern and hopes that this would not happen. “I could not tell you I am not concerned, but we are prepared for it and we think that we are OK.”

This internet café was the first to reopen and pay out cash and the city and state seemed to be taking a hands-off approach meanwhile on whether they would allow it.

That’s what Miller said was the reaction he had been getting.

They had talked to several lawyers and whoever they could speak with on an official level but no one wanted to involve themselves he said.

There was no one to come and inspect his business he was told that if they opened it they would be doing so at their own risk. They just won’t do it.

City officials knew about the software changes but they didn’t enforce the laws. It would have to be the Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville. But the staff there says it’s more of a city problem, and both agencies were planning on sitting down in the near future and decide whether they needed to take action.

Other cafes were more likely to be reopening with the same programs in the near future.



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How The Sweepstakes Ban May Have Made You A Criminal Because Of Your Smartphone


In a rush to dominate the sweepstakes industry inside the State of Florida, along with a heavy

How Your Smartphone Made You A Criminal

push from tribe casino lobbyist, the internet café ban may have accidentally banned every computer and smartphone in the state. How could such a absurd action take place ? It comes from a very poorly written house bill and a legislation ready to clamp down on a huge opportunity to snuff out competition.

……read more about unconstitutional sweepstakes cafe ban.



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AARP Closes Down Sweepstakes Program After Sweepstakes Ban In Florida


Sorry, grandmother and grand daddy.

wp11The AARP is obstructing Florida homeowners from taking part in its Perfect Path to Retirement $50,000 Giveaway and its forthcoming Grandparents Day Photo Contest because of a new state law suppressing gambling.

The law was rapidly passed last month after the arrests of 57 people and the retirement of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll about St. Augustine-based Allied Veterans of the World, which ran a chain of strip-mall mini casinos or so-called “Internet cafes.”.

To close what they claimed was a technicality exploited by some Internet cafe companies, lawmakers made certain to eliminate an exception for nonprofit groups.

“AARP Florida was surprised by the consequences of this new law,” Jeff John-son, AARP Florida statedirector, stated in a written declaration to The Miami Herald.

“While we are let down for those of our participants that won’t be able to participate in AARP’s contests or sweepstakes,” he claimed, “we are more interested for how this could possibly impact other nonprofit companies across the state.”.

Johnson said the circumstance was an “unexpected result,” however just Florida– a retiree-heavy state with the second-largest number of AARP participants– won’t be participating in its cash-reward contests.

That accompanies some regularity in the Legislature, which typically passes laws to address one situation only to learn that yet another team is impaired.

For instance, children’s arcade rooms like Chuck E. Cheese could be operating outside of the bounds of the new law.

Still, lawmakers and legislative personnel are hesitant, but they may amuse clarifying the law if demand be.

They claimed the law was passed to go after Internet cafes and the popularcoin-operated maquinitas (“little machines”) in Miami-Dade. It’s not aimed at AARP holding a fortuitous contest, claimed Sen. John Thrasher, a St. Augustine Republican who sponsored the bill.

“We passed a law because we believed there was aterribly gray area, loopholes had actually been created to allow drive-by casinos,” he pointed out. “So we attempted to clarify exactly what gambling joined state of Florida.”.

Thrasher said he would certainly need to evaluate AARP’s legal reasoning before talking about the particulars of its case.

Thrasher recommended AARP contact authorities, consisting of the attorney general’s workplace, if it’s seriously interested about contravening on the new gambling suppression.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office had no comment. Scott gently authorized the bill and has stayed away from talking about some of its particulars.

When inquired about the toll of losing an industry-estimated 14,000 jobs linked to the casino-style procedures, Scott wouldn’t respond last month after he signed the bill.

“I have a jobs plan,”he stated.

Scott’s helpmate governor, Carroll, was compelled to surrender by Scott’s staff at the start of the 60-day lawmaking session in March when Allied Veterans owners and workers were apprehended in a statewide sting.

Carroll’s previous public-relations firm had donework for Allied Veterans, she has actually proclaimed her innocence and no evidence has actually linked her to any criminal offense.

After the new law passed, authorities in some cities and towns began shutting down various other Internet cafés and arcades. In Hialeah, police confiscated 72 machines from galleries that satisfy the senior.

Yet up until now, little ones’ galleries haven’t been touched.

“I’m not visiting go apprehension Chuck E. Cheese in front of a lot of 6-year-olds,” Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said earlier today.

The AARP isn’t really chancing it.

AARP has yet to reveal the information of Grandparents Day Photo Contest, yet it plans to offer individuals the possibility to send in and upload images of their grandparents. The winner could possibly obtain up to $5,000. Runners up could possibly get other cash prizes.

The continuous Perfect Path to Retirement $50,000 Giveaway is on-going. The regulations online are quite clear.

It’s “open only to legal citizens of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia (excluding Florida) that go to the very least forty (40) years of ages.”.



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Bradenton To Enforce Sweepstakes Ban May Begin The New Wave Of Compliant PreReveal Sweepstakes In Florida


Enforcement of a new Florida law outlawing Internet and sweepstakes cafes has begun.

wp6Manatee Couny Sheriff Brad Steube has actually sent letters to those associated with the cafes claiming they run the risk of encountering criminal costs, based on Bay News 9′s partner newspaper, the Bradenton Herald.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the Prohibition of Electronic Gaming Devices law on April 10.

“This legislation declares that Internet Cafes and Sweepstakes adult galleries are not excused by exceptions in the gambling laws for charitable or non-profit companies, laws allowing particular game advertisings or sweepstakes and/or laws licensing skill-based games at arcade entertainment centers,” Steube wrote.

There are about 1,000 Internet cafes and 200 adult arcades in the state.

A member of the Sheriff’s Office hand delivered the letter to each business.

“Continued wrongful operation or patronage of Internet Cafes and Sweepstakes adult games will certainly subject people (owners, staff members and clients) to criminal prosecution,” it said.

“The just other choice for business owners, that some have actually begun to carry out, is combating the law in court,” he continued.



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VLT’s Move Fast In Florida


Although the restriction on unlawful gambling machines is anticipated to be applied regionally, the Florida Department

1-877-WIN-CAFE Sweepstakes Players

of Law Enforcement is taking the offensive dispersing the following handout and poster to the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Association of Florida Police Attorneys and Florida State Attorney’s Offices.
The posters advise that anybody who runs or checks out internet cafes  Iand grownup galleries will certainly undergo criminal prosecution.

FDLE asked police to disperse the files to the Internet cafes and comparable opportunities to notify owners, operators, staff members, and patrons that these tasks join transgression of Florida law, and could possibly result in prosecution.



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Tribes Gather Lobbying Money For Push To Close Sweepstakes Cafes


Online gaming at Internet cafes can quickly be prohibited, and regarding 30 regional companies could be influenced.
Last week, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that would certainly ban paying to play ready cash

1-877-WIN-CAFE Sweepstakes Cafe

prizes at facilities such as Internet cafes. It will now visit the Florida Senate for ballot.
Internet cafes have recently taken the limelight after the Allied Veterans of the World chain was explored for scams.
State Rep. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, who enacted favor of the bill, stated Alachua County is residence to about 30 Internet cafes.
According to the bill, Florida law “particularly prohibits the keeping or maintaining of an area for the purpose of gambling or gaming.”.
Perry claimed the cafes have been permitted to run in the past due to the fact that they drop under a gray area in the state’s gambling law.
He clarified that limited-time, marketing games that motivate individuals to purchase an item yet don’t require purchase to play serve.
Needing purchase, however, comprises gambling.
The cafes skirt the law by supplying complimentary gaming while charging customers for Internet gain access to.
“At Internet [cafes], you really did need to buy to play the game,” he stated.
If passed, the bill wouldn’t affect raffles, limited-time game promos or arcade games.
Although some individuals advocated permitting the businesses to remain open while enforcing limitations on them, Perry claimed removing the cafes totally is the very best course of action.
“I personally didn’t wish to place a stamp of approval on all of these existing Internet cafes by stating we must manage them,” he said.
However by prohibiting the cafes, Santa Fe College political science professor Thomas J. Harrington said state and city government may miss out on possible revenue. If the cafes are managed, he pointed out, federal government might accumulate cash from the businesses.
If locals desire an Internet cafe in their neighborhood, he pointed out, it may be better to allow local government have territory.
“Government’s No. 1 job and obligation is to secure society and its residents,” he said.
However, Perry pointed out closing city cafes might boost Gainesville’s economic situation due to the fact that homeowners would have a lot more available earnings to pump into city outlets and restaurants.
“I believe, long-term, it’s definitely much better for the local economy,” he stated.
Drew Sanders, a 21-year-old SFC criminal justice freshman, has actually visited the Lucky Diamond Internet Cafe in Keystone Heights several times.
Just what drew him to the cafe was the opportunity of gaining small rewards along with small amounts of money. He additionally suched as the setting of the cafe, which provided cost-free beverages and snacks, a comfy seating area and a large-screen TV.
Sanders stated he thinks the selection of gaming at Internet cafes should be left to locals without federal government disturbance.
“It was truly easygoing,” he pointed out. “I personally think that that’s one of those things people should be allowed.”.



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Sweepstakes Fraud Cause Of Cafe Fraud Sweepstakes Still Legal


Florida’s lieutenant governor resigned and almost 60 other people were charged in a shame entailing a supposed veterans charity that authorities stated Wednesday was a front for a $300 million gambling procedure.

Sweepstakes Cafe Players May Be Playing State Sponsored Video Lottery Terminals Soon

The company, Allied Veterans of the World, operates virtually 50 Internet parlors along with electronic slot machine-style games, which are typically lawful in Florida if many of the profits go to charity.

But detectives pointed out the organization’s execs provided little to veterans and lavished millions on themselves, investing it on watercrafts, beachfront condos and Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called the alleged rip-off “insensitive” and “despicable” and stated it “insults every American who ever served in a military uniform.”.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was not amongst those asked for but resigned a day after she was asked about it by detectives.

The public connections firm she co-owned, 3 N&JC, did help St. Augustine-based Allied Veterans. A Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War, Carroll also appeared in a TV advertisement in 2011 advertising the organization’s deal with part of veterans and their households.

Authorities refused to talk about any kind of ties between the 53-year-old Republican and the investigation. Her assistants had no remark.

Carroll claimed in a statement Wednesday that neither she nor everyone relationships company was targeted in the probing, and she stepped down in order that her ties to the company would certainly not be an interruption for Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.

The inspection entailed 57 arrest warrants and 54 search warrants released in Florida and 5 various other states: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Nevada and Pennsylvania. As of midafternoon, 49 people had been apprehended. Allied Veterans’ 49 parlors in Florida were raided and closed down.

Authorities claimed they took concerning 300 savings account containing $64.7 million, along with sports cars and various other property.

Bondi pointed out that when fees are officially submitted next week they will certainly feature racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and possession of slot like machines.

“It is shameful that Allied Veterans of the World allegedly tried to make use of the guise of charitable company to aid veterans in order to provide integrity to this $300 million gambling scheme,” she pointed out.

A phone number listed for Allied Veterans was no longer active. E-mails to an address on the group’s site were not returned. The address Allied listed as its headquarters appeared deserted, the long, gray cinder-block building basic in.

Gerald Bailey, commissioner of Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement, said the apprehensions are just the initial surge of the examination and the 2nd wave will look at the “king’s ransoms” of cash invested on lobbying and contributions to political campaigns. He would not offer information.

Allied Veterans was founded in 1979 and evolved from a charitable organization that ran bingo games and held bake sales for veterans to a team suspected of prevalent prohibited gambling around Florida, baseding upon an Internal Revenue Service affidavit. The IRS verbalized the charity a fraud.

Among those jailed, Jacksonville legal representative Kelly Mathis, was recognized by authorities as the mastermind of the scheme. He apparently made about $6 million from the operation.

A woman that answered the phone at Mathis’ law firm said no one was readily available to talk about his arrest.

From 2007 to early 2012, detectives pointed out, they found proof of almost $6 million in what appear to be charitable donations by Allied Veterans. That was only about 2 percent of the greater than $290 million made from gambling throughout that period, they pointed out.

Many of the money visited for-profit firms and the drivers of Allied Veterans, authorities said.

To play games at one of the Internet cafes, a consumer obtains a pre-paid card then goes to a computer. The games, with spinning wheels like one-armed bandit, have full names such as “Captain Cash,” “Lucky Shamrocks” and “Money Bunny.” Winners return to a cashier along with their cards and squander.

Each of the areas had rows of computers and a huge indication that read: “This is not a gaming establishment.” On the walls were photos of company executives making contributions and characters of awareness from some of the charities that supposedly profited.

In Anadarko, Okla., the owner of International Internet Technologies, a business indicted of providing the cafes with software, was apprehended along with his wife. Hunt Egan Burns, 37, and Kristin Burns, 38, face charges featuring racketeering and conspiracy theory.

International Internet Technologies made $63 million from the Florida procedure from 2007 to 2010, according to the IRS.

“What we do is lawful,” Chase Burns informed The Oklahoman on Monday.

Carroll presented TWENTY years in the Navy, operating as a plane technician before retiring as a helpmate leader. She was elected Florida’s first black lieutenant governor in 2010, winning office as Scott’s operating match. She is likewise a previous executive supervisor of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

A wedded mom of three, Carroll has a child that plays for the Miami Dolphins.

Carroll came to be embroiled in a short-lived scandal last year when a fired staffer declared that she strolled in on Carroll and a women assistant in a jeopardizing position. Carroll rejected that.

She came to be the brunt of late-night chat hosts after she informed a TV terminal that black women who appear like her “do not participate in partnerships like that.” She later on apologized for any ramification that black lesbians are unsightly.



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