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Old 03-24-2013, 08:20 AM
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Do You Know Your Neighbors?

Do you really know your neighbors? This guy lives across the street from me!!!
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Kelly Mathis says arrest in Allied Veterans case has ruined his life, damaged career.

The Florida Times-Union
Attorney Kelly Mathis stands before the judge as his bail was set at 1 million dollars for his role in the Allied Veterans of America investigation. Defendants arrested in the Florida sweep of Allied Veterans of America gaming centers stood before a video feed of Seminole County Judge James J. DeKleva in the John E. Polk Correctional Facility Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Sanford, FL as bail was set from $100,000.00 to $1,000,000.00.

Kelly Mathis is accused by prosecutors of being the “mastermind” behind a $300 million gambling ring and purported veterans charity, but he said that he’s simply an attorney who did legal research for his clients and advised them.

During an hour-long interview with The Associated Press at his lawyer’s office on Wednesday, Mathis said that his arrest last week has ruined his life and damaged his law career.

Mathis’s eyes became red when he talked about how his family has stood by him since his arrest and release from jail on bond. He’s been charged in state court with racketeering, money laundering and gambling-related charges.

“Lots of prayer,” he said, when asked about the past several days.

Mathis, who is 49 and the past president of the Jacksonville Bar Association, is one of about 60 people charged in Seminole County with running the now-shuttered Allied Veterans of the World, which operated nearly 50 Internet parlors with computerized slot machine-style games.

Prosecutors could not be reached for comment. A storage unit controlled by the law office of Mathis and Murphy was raided this week by law enforcement officials, but police declined to say what they took.

Attorney Mitch Stone, who is representing Mathis, said the documents taken were closed files of legal work Mathis did for Allied.

Those documents will show Mathis was a lawyer working for his client, and not someone breaking the law, Stone said.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was not among those charged but resigned a day after she was questioned by investigators.

The public relations firm she co-owned, 3 N&JC, did work for St. Augustine-based Allied Veterans. A Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War, Carroll also appeared in a TV ad in 2011 promoting the organization’s work on behalf of veterans and their families.

Mathis said that Johnny Duncan and Jerry Bass, the two men who once owned Allied Veterans of the World, came to him about seven years ago and sought his legal advice.

Mathis said he took Duncan, Bass and Allied as clients and eventually became the registered agent for several gaming centers owned by the organization. He said there is no connection between him and the business, contrary to what prosecutors and law enforcement say.

Under Florida law, a company must have a registered agent to be responsible for receiving important legal and tax documents; many companies use lawyers.

“There is no connection. They’re trying to force a connection,” Mathis said of prosecutors. “And that’s all they’ve got, is to say that I was the registered agent, that I had some relationship to all of these companies. And the relationship they’ve got is that I was the registered agent. But what they fail to realize is that’s no relationship at all.”

Mathis said he spent “months” researching whether gaming centers were legal in Florida.

“I spent months researching this in-depth, of sweepstakes law, gambling law, to make sure they didn’t violate any of the gambling laws,” he said. “Reading cases, reading statutes. Reading legislative history. Gathering all of that information before I ever issued them an opinion. That this is what they could do and needed to do in order to comply with Florida law.”

He said that he advocated for the organization, not only in courtrooms but with government officials. Mathis is a registered lobbyist and said he met with Jennifer Carroll several years ago while she was a member of the Florida House of Representatives.

Mathis said he had lunch “a couple of times” with Carroll and was asked to explain to her how the centers operated under the law.

He said he didn’t know anything about her public relations firm or work that she did with Allied.

Mathis said he’s met Gov. Rick Scott once, during the governor’s inaugural ball.

He said that he knows nothing about the charity angle of the business — prosecutors say that only 2 percent of the nearly $300 million earned by Allied went to charity — and that he merely advised the company about laws regarding charities.

“I’m a lawyer, I fight hard for my clients, I fight hard for all my clients. I try to be very hard working and I try to be a good lawyer,” said Mathis.

The Allied Veterans investigation involved search warrants issued in Florida and five other states: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Allied Veterans’ 49 parlors in Florida were raided and shut down.

Authorities said they seized about 300 bank accounts containing $64.7 million, as well as sports cars and other property.

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Old 03-24-2013, 09:00 AM
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This guy is in Deep Do-Do. He's linked to another Internet Cafe in SC.

Allied Veterans' Jacksonville lawyer involved in another charity under investigation.

ST. AUGUSTINE | Fresh off a nearly $300 million racketeering case involving a veterans’ charity that benefited from simulated gambling at gaming centers, Florida regulators will investigate a children’s cancer group connected to a similar operation that is four times bigger and involves the same Jacksonville lawyer.

The new probe comes in response to Associated Press inquiries about Children’s Cancer Cooperative, a group that operates out of a South Carolina bingo parlor has collected cash from more than 200 of the gaming centers in Florida.

In exchange for the money that has flowed into the Children’s Cancer Cooperative from the centers, the charity’s name is listed as sponsoring sweepstakes prizes offered at the centers, giving players the impression money lost on the fast-moving games mimicking Vegas-style slots goes to help sick kids.

As with the Allied Veterans case announced this month, the central questions will be how much money the cafes raised, how much of that should have been taxed, and how much ultimately went to charity.

When authorities in Florida charged 57 people in the Allied Veterans case, they labeled Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis — who has also for years represented Children’s Cancer Cooperative — the architect of the scheme.

Out of jail on $200,000 bail, Mathis said Wednesday he did legal work for Children’s Cancer Cooperative but knows nothing about how much cash the charity got or how it the money was distributed.

“Occasionally they have asked for my advice for operating a legal sweepstakes, which I provided to them,” Mathis said. “I had no involvement in what they gave or where they gave it.”

The resulting political and legal maelstrom triggered the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who had done consulting work for the charity, and sent top elected officials from both parties in Florida and North Carolina scrambling to return or at least explain the more than $1 million in campaign contributions they accepted from donors linked to Allied.

The revelations also have ignited a debate in Florida about how well the industry is regulated, how the millions of dollars flowing in and out of the gaming centers can be properly policed and whether enough of it is going to charities, a chief reason the centers are allowed to operate tax-free and outside the realm of sanctioned gambling. The Florida House overwhelmingly approved a bill Friday that seeks to outlaw sweepstakes gaming.

Allied Veterans operated out of about 50 strip-mall gaming centers scattered throughout the state, which sell customers time online at computer terminals that feature sweepstakes games that simulate slot machines.

Only about 2 percent — about $6 million over four years — of the money raised by centers affiliated with Allied actually went to assist veterans, according to prosecutors. And most of the money that Allied Veterans took in wasn’t listed on its tax forms, as is required.

Though the Children’s Cancer Cooperative has reported donating nearly $3 million to cancer hospitals and dozens of other charities, according to an AP review of public records, it is impossible for outsiders to discern through public sources just how much of the total take from the affiliated cafes that represents.

“This is just one more example of why all Internet casinos must be shut down,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who oversees the sweepstakes industry, told the AP this week. “I am ashamed that businesses in Florida are lining their pockets by using veterans and vulnerable children to further their greed.”

Harold T. Dukes Sr., who founded the Children’s Cancer Cooperative in South Carolina in 1999, could not be reached for comment.

Records found by the AP show Mathis registered the Children’s Cancer Cooperative in Florida in 2009. It is also registered in at least six other states where sweepstakes games are popular — Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Iowa.

Casinos consider such sweepstakes centers unfair competition because they typically don’t pay taxes and often operate in states were gambling is supposed to be illegal. Their ties to charity also lend them a veneer of legitimacy while discouraging law enforcement officials from shutting them down, said David Stewart, a Washington attorney who represents the casino gaming industry.

“It’s hard to come up with a more sympathetic cause than children with cancer,” Stewart said. “It makes people feel good about going there, makes it more socially acceptable because it’s all for a good cause.”

To play at the centers, customers get prepaid cards and then go to a computer to play “sweepstakes.” The games, with spinning wheels similar to slot machines, have names such as “Captain Cash,” ‘’Lucky Shamrocks” and “Money Bunny.” Winners go back to a cashier with their cards and cash out.

On Wednesday, first-time visitors to Old City Sweepstakes in St. Augustine were asked to sign a registration form identifying any prizes won at the center as “a promotion sponsored by Children’s Cancer Cooperative Inc.” Asked where the money from the center goes, the clerk provided a brochure describing Children’s Cancer Cooperative as a nonprofit charity established by Dukes.

“Harold feels like God has blessed him his entire life, not only financially but also with his health and the health of his wife, children and grandchildren,” the brochure says. “Because of God’s abundant blessings, Harold believes that he should share these gift(s) with others. Harold’s desire and wishes is to give to others as God has given to him.”

The brochure includes color photos of the 76-year-old Dukes with his wife, Rosie, and posing with ill children while handing out huge yellow checks to the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Shrines Hospital for Children in Tampa.

More photos posted on the charity’s website include Dukes handing a $10,000 charity check to his local sheriff “for safety of the children and families in Berkeley County” and accepting a framed resolution passed by the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2010 to honor his charitable works.

The brochure describes Dukes as living on a farm outside Charleston, S.C. Records show he also is the owner of Music In Motion Family Fun Center of Summerville, S.C., which offers “jackpot bingo” seven nights a week. Dukes is also listed as the managing partner of Goldmine Arcade, a Florida corporation affiliated with several sweepstakes centers.

Dukes’ wife answered the door at the couple’s modest home near Ravenel, S.C., on Wednesday, but said her husband wasn’t home. He did not return a message seeking comment about his involvement with Children’s Cancer Cooperative.

Dukes is paid $50,000 annually as president of the cancer charity, federal tax records show. His son, Carl Dukes, is the vice president, and other members of his family and business associates have also received money.

Children’s Cancer Cooperative reported to the IRS giving away more than $2.5 million from 2009 to 2011. The organization’s 2012 return is not yet available, but the charity’s web site says it donated another $338,000 last year.

During its initial 2011 investigation into Allied Veterans, records show officials at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reviewed Internet casinos affiliated with Children’s Cancer Cooperative after concerns were raised that customers were being told money spent on the games was being provided to charity. Windows at the centers featured the Children’s Cancer logo and large photos showing charity checks being presented to hospitals were prominently displayed inside.

Erin Gillespie, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department, said the agency ordered the centers to remove the charity’s logo and no longer represent that the funds spent there were going to help sick kids. A lobbyist for the cafes said they would comply, and the agency closed its investigation.

Gillespie said regulators were surprised to hear of the glossy Children’s Cancer brochure provided to an AP reporter visiting Old City Sweepstakes, which records show a lawyer from Mathis’ firm registered with the state in August as a new affiliate of the charity.

Six more new affiliates were registered March 11, days before authorities began issuing arrest warrants in the Allied Veterans case.

Mathis said this week he remembers meeting Dukes when the charity president visited his Jacksonville law office years ago to hire him.

“Mr. Dukes did tell me that they want to give money for children and children’s cancer,” Mathis said, “which I thought was pretty obvious, given their name.”

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Old 03-25-2013, 09:48 AM
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Well....the good point is he is not on the sex offenders listing
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:45 AM
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:54 AM
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I'm gonna go punch my neighbor tonight just in case its a similar situation
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:23 AM
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So what, the guy was a money chasing cheat. At least he wasn't checking out the wife and daughter while they are in the shower... or worse yet, you or your son in the shower!

Rick, go dig up his backyard... maybe he left some coffee cans back there for when the day came he got caught and they seize his accounts!
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:10 PM
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trickskier trickskier is offline
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Originally Posted by Sodar View Post
So what, the guy was a money chasing cheat. At least he wasn't checking out the wife and daughter while they are in the shower... or worse yet, you or your son in the shower!

Rick, go dig up his backyard... maybe he left some coffee cans back there for when the day came he got caught and they seize his accounts!
Damn good idea Cameron!!! I have a metal detector - Think I'll start looking tonight!

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Old 03-25-2013, 09:22 PM
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This guy was a friend.... Both now pleading guilty to the feds...

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Old 03-25-2013, 09:27 PM
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well i guess my neighbors are looking good!
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:35 PM
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Our Lt. Governor had to resign over this investigation. Our government is truly corrupt!

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