TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's lieutenant governor has resigned because of her ties to an Internet cafe company embroiled in a gambling scandal that has resulted in 57 people being indicted.
Jennifer Carroll's resignation was announced Wednesday, one day after she gave her resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott, who says he has no knowledge that Carroll broke the law.
Scott called her resignation disappointing. His chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, says Carroll's resignation was spurred by an investigation into the Allied Veterans of the World, which was once represented by Carroll.
Scott didn't say if he had asked Carroll to resign, but said he will wait until the annual legislation session is over before picking Carroll's replacement.
Fifty-seven individuals charged for their roles in the nonprofit 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.
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, according to SCSO.
"Our investigation suggests the premise of charity is a lie," said Gerald Bailey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Investigators said 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, according to Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators said they believe the four co-conspirators received more than $90 million in proceeds.
"Claiming to be an organization that helps veterans in order to run an illegal scheme insults every American who ever wore a military uniform," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Investigators found that during the period from January 2008 to January 2012, less than 2 percent of the $300 million in gambling center revenues was given to charity, according to investigators.
Authorities also interviewed Carroll, whose ties to the company were questioned when she was in the Legislature and proposed a bill that would benefit Internet cafes.
Allied Veterans of the World was founded in the late 1970s to help assist members of the armed forces.
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