Florida Internet cafés subjected to state and federal raid

Florida's lieutenant governor resigned yesterday in connection with a state and federal raid on a charity for which she once consulted. The charity, which runs charitable gambling through Internet cafés, is accused of giving only 2 percent of its proceeds to charitable purposes.

The former lieutenant governor worked for a public relations firm that represented the company running the cafés in 2009-2010. Sources say she resigned to prevent the scandal from affecting the work of the governor's administration. It is unclear whether she may face charges.

The president and vice president of the company were also arrested in connection with the charity. In total, 57 people were arrested in 23 Florida counties and five other states for racketeering charges.

In response to the scandal, some Florida lawmakers are calling for legislation to outlaw Internet cafés altogether. Similar bills have been proposed in other states where these cafés have been linked to organized gambling. However, Internet cafés also provide a valuable service to people who do not have their own regular access to the web.

If you are facing charges of fraud or other federal white collar crime, it is essential to work with someone who understands the charges brought against you. These offenses can carry serious penalties including fines, prison time and a lasting criminal record. Consider getting in touch with a criminal defense attorney experienced in federal criminal defense. He or she can help you navigate the relevant state and federal laws while making sure your rights are protected in the criminal justice system.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigns amid federal Internet café probe," Aaron Deslatte, Amy Pavuk and Rene Stutzman, March 13, 2013

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