A six-man panel of jurors found Jacksonville lawyer Kelly Mathis guilty of 104 counts of having possession of slot machines used in racketeering, conspiracy and unlawful Internet gambling operations. Mathis went on trial for masterminding the operation of a network of casinos in Florida that was under the guise of Internet cafes run by a charity group for veterans. The jury deliberated for fourteen hours between Thursday and Friday, and ended the three-week trial by coming up with a guilty verdict.
Still, Kelly Mathis insists that he was not part of the veteran charity group, as his involvement was purely in his capacity as legal counsel. Moreover, Mathis maintained that the legal advice he gave was accurate, since the government of Florida had no regulations governing the operation of Internet cafes, particularly with the matter of offering promotional lottery games.
However, State Prosecutor Nick Cox asserted that as a lawyer of a charitable institution, Mathis knows that Allied Veterans of the World was in violation of the law for operating Internet cafes that sold Internet time to play slot games such as “Captain Cash,” “Lucky Shamrocks” and “Money Bunny”.
Accordingly, Allied Veterans of the World was able to amass as much as $300 million from the Internet café operations since 2007. Yet most of the funds had been channeled through affiliates and were used to acquire luxury cars, prime real estate properties and a yacht that went to the organizers of Allied Veterans of the World. IRS investigators involved in the multi-agency federal investigations gave estimates that only two percent or $6 million were used for charitable purposes, while Kelly Mathis and his law firm received $1.5 million annually.