Associated Press Release By: MIKE SCHNEIDER
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A jury has been selected in the trial of a Jacksonville attorney accused of being the mastermind behind a veteran’s charity that prosecutors say actually was a $290 million gambling operation.
Opening statements are set Thursday morning in Kelly Mathis’ trial on money laundering and other charges.
Prosecutors say Mathis and the operators of Allied Veterans of the World were running a mostly bogus charity that got its money from dozens of casinos masquerading as Internet cafes throughout Florida.
Mathis claims he only was giving legal advice and that the Internet cafes were legal.
The arrest of Mathis and 56 others prompted the Florida Legislature to ban the storefront Internet cafes. It also led to the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who had worked as a consultant.
Associated Press Release
SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville lawyer who prosecutors say masterminded a veterans’ charity that was actually a $290 million gambling operation is the first of dozens of defendants to go to trial.
Jury selection starts Monday in Kelly Mathis’ trial. It comes six months after Mathis and 56 other defendants affiliated with Allied Veterans of the World were arrested and charged with money laundering and other charges.
Several defendants have reached plea agreements with prosecutors.
Mathis says he merely gave legal advice. He says a conviction could send a chilling effect to other lawyers if his prosecution is successful.
The arrests led to the resignation of Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who had worked as an Allied Veterans consultant. It also inspired the Florida Legislature to ban the Internet cafes.