SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - Two lower-level managers pleaded guilty in a Florida court Monday as prosecutors moved ahead on the cases of dozens of defendants charged with using a veterans' organization called Allied Veterans as a front for a $300 million gambling operation.
Richard Rubino and Charles Black pleaded guilty to two counts each of possession of a slot machine in Seminole County Court. They were assessed courts costs and given a $50 prosecution charge. Some 13 charges were dropped against Rubino, and 19 charges we dropped against Black, who helped operate four casinos.
A sentencing hearing involving several dozen more Allied Veterans defendants is set for Tuesday.
Last month, a Florida jury convicted attorney Kelly Mathis of 103 counts for his role in the Allied Veterans organization. He will be sentenced in February.
Mathis was the first of 57 defendants to go to trial in a case that led to the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll who had worked as a consultant for the Allied Veterans charity. She wasn't charged with any crime. The arrests also led the Florida Legislature to ban Internet cafes in the state earlier this year.
Prosecutors said Mathis and his associates built up the network of casinos by claiming they were businesses where customers could buy Internet time, when in reality most customers played slot machine games on computers and didn't use the Internet. Even though the Internet cafes were being operated under the aegis of Allied Veterans of the World, very little of the $300 million the businesses earned actually went to veterans, prosecutors said.
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