A national probe of of a Florida-based non-profit that operates a chain of internet cafes has led to the arrest of several of the organization's leaders and the heads of Jacksonville's police union. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll owned a firm that once handled public relations for the company, Allied Veterans of the World.
Carroll's company, 3 N. and J.C. Corporation, is currently inactive, according to SunBiz. Allied Veterans paid her for consulting and communications work during the same time that Carroll was serving in the Florida House. A Florida Times-Union columnist wrote in 2010 that she also starred in television ads that commended the organization for her charity work.
Carroll was criticized in that same Times-Union column for introducing legislation to legalize weepstakes games like those in cafes operated by Allied Veterans. Then, as in now, Allied Veterans and other internet cafe operators took advantage of a loophole in state law that some say should be closed while other say internet cafes should be legal but regulated.
Carroll later withdrew the proposed law, saying it was filed erroneously and that she wasn't interested in legalizing internet cafes, the columnist said.
Scott's office said in 2011 that Carroll had ended her affiliation with Allied Veterans.
Carroll served in the House from 2003 to 2010, becoming the first African-American female Republican to be elected. Scott selected her as his running mate in September 2010 and they took office in January 2011.
The recent investigation of Allied Veterans and its affiliates was conducted by the IRS, Secret Service, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and sheriff’s offices in Jacksonville, Volusia County and Seminole County, where the whole probe began. 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 Veterans Administration.
Click here to read the Times-Union's coverage of the Allied Veterans racketeering probe and arrests announced Tuesday.
Click here for an in depth Tampa Bay Times article about Allied Veterans and its former president's checkered past.