Following the resignation of Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, speculation looms as to her involvement with one of the state’s largest internet casino operators, Allied Veterans of the World. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam called for a statewide ban of all internet casinos on Wednesday after Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger announced the results of an investigation, assisted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Putnam’s office released the following:
“The case against Allied Veterans of the World makes clear that internet casinos are a breeding ground for illegal activity,” Putnam said. “I intend to work with the Legislature to shut down these organizations and keep them from defrauding and scamming their clients and, in this case, veterans who were never given their share of the promised proceeds.”
Investigations initiated by the department in 2011 against Allied Veterans of the World supported the multi-agency effort to investigate and charge 57 individuals this week for their roles in a $300 million conspiracy orchestrated by Allied Veterans of the World. These investigations revealed a sophisticated racketeering and money laundering scheme stemming from 49 illegal gambling centers operating as internet casinos.
“I want to thank Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger for his leadership in this complex investigation,” Putnam said.
Allied Veterans of the World was registered with the department as a solicitor of contributions, or charitable organization. The agency has been involved in a lawsuit with Allied Veterans of the World since November 2011 for failure to provide required documentation as evidence of its charitable activity.
“Through this case, we have learned more about the level of deception between the support they claimed to provide to veterans and what they have actually provided,” said Commissioner Putnam.
Charities are regulated by this department and must provide paperwork, including information regarding income and charitable contributions, on an annual basis. While internet casinos are not required to register with this department, those that claim to be a “sweepstakes program” and offer prizes of more than $5,000 must file paperwork with the agency.