Official in U.S. state Florida resigns after implication in scandal

Official in U.S. state Florida resigns after implication in scandal
# 14 March 2013 02:45 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Florida's Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has resigned after being implicated in a widening internet gambling scheme, as authorities arrested nearly 60 people in six states, local newspapers reported Wednesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, Carroll abruptly resigned from office Tuesday, one day after Florida Department of Law Enforcement interviewed her about her connections to Allied Veterans of the World, a Florida-based non- profit organization that operates a chain of Internet cafes, which served as a front for illegal gambling.

Carroll once owned a public relations firm that represented Allied Veterans, and she did work for the company at the same time she served in the state's legislature. She has not been charged with any crime.

The state's Attorney General Pam Bondi and law enforcement officials, speaking at a news conference in Orlando on Wednesday afternoon, said the multistate investigation - dubbed "Operation Reveal the Deal" - of the purported veterans' charity led to arrest warrants for 57 people in Florida and five other states. Charges include racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and possession of slot machines, according to a report by the Miami Herald.

Earlier this week, top leaders of Allied Veterans and the head of Jacksonville's police union were arrested on charges of racketeering and money laundering.

"It is shameful that Allied Veterans of the World allegedly attempted to use the guise of a charitable organization to help veterans in order to lend credibility to this 300-million-dollar illegal gambling scheme," said Bondi in a statement. "The Office of Statewide Prosecution will be filing formal charges related to illegal gambling, racketeering and money laundering, and they will prosecute the participants in the scheme to the fullest extent of the law."

Investigators said that Allied Veterans tried to scheme and defraud the public and governmental agencies by misrepresenting how much of its proceeds were donated to charities affiliated with the Veterans Administration.

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