Closing arguments begin in Internet cafe case

Attorney Kelly Mathis stands trial in Sanford

SANFORD, Fla. - A prosecutor told jurors that a Jacksonville lawyer should be found guilty of 104 criminal counts for helping build up a network of storefront casinos under the guise of a veteran's charity.

Prosecutor Lisa Acharekar on Tuesday asked jurors to convict attorney Kelly Mathis of racketeering, conspiracy, running a lottery and possessing slot machines in closing arguments at his trial.

"In order to open a location, any potential owner had to go to the defendant and defendant had to engage in some meetings, set up paperwork, they had to talk to the software provider, make sure they were on board," she said.

Acharekar says Mathis determined where the Internet cafes run by Allied Veterans of the World were located and made other key decisions.

Defense attorneys say Mathis only acted as an attorney providing legal advice.

"His reputation has been destroyed, his law firm has been disseminated, his family embarrassed and humiliated but through it all, he's kept his head high," he said.

Mathis is the first of 56 defendants to go to trial in a case that led to the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and caused the Florida Legislature to ban the Internet cafes this year

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