More Evidence Points Toward Florida Regulators Gave OK To Internet Cafes
Sanford, Fla., October 5, 2013 – The defense team for Kelly Mathis presented evidence last week that confirmed Allied Veteran’s Internet Cafe business was legal. After the State rested unexpectedly on Monday September 30, 2013,
Judge Kenneth Lester agreed with defense lawyers and dismissed over 50 money laundering counts that had been filed against Mathis. Over 100 counts remain. The defense then started its case on October 2, 2013.Lead defense attorney Mitch Stone began by presenting evidence of Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services position that the Internet cafe sweepstakes promotion business model was legal. A training program created in 2007 confirmed exactly what Mathis had later determined after researching the law for his client, Allied Veterans. The defense then presented a series of witnesses who agreed with Mathis.Retired City of Jacksonville Office of General Counsel supervisor Steve Rohan testified the Internet Cafes managed by the non-profit Allied Veterans of the World, Inc. and Affiliates were operating within state law. He testified Mathis met with him and other city lawyers. Rohan testified he could have rejected Mathis’ legal analysis if he had read the law differently. However, he and other lawyers agreed with Mathis. The jury was only permitted to hear part of his testimony due to the court prohibiting evidence of local regulatory ordinances and recent state legislation concerning the Internet cafe sweepstakes game promotion business model.Former Assistant State Attorney Daniel Leising, who headed up a law enforcement task force concerning the Internet Cafe businesses in Volusia County in 2008, also testified that Mathis met with him and offered information about his client and the law. Leising confirmed he and other lawyers and law enforcement officers could have rejected Mathis’ legal conclusions but didn’t. In the end, no arrests of any Internet cafe owners resulted from that task force investigation implying that the State Attorney’s Office and Volusia County law enforcement officers agreed the Allied Veterans business model was legal.Current State Attorney Supervisor Karen Foxman also testified that when she was in private practice her firm represented Allied Veterans and she paired with Mathis to meet with three separate prosecutors to discuss the law and facts regarding the Internet cafe sweepstakes promotion. She confirmed that the reason for the meetings was to provide information to prosecutors and law enforcement. Again no arrests resulted implying Mathis’ analysis of the law was accurate.Additional witnesses for the defense included a current Jacksonville Sheriff’s office sergeant and the compliance officer for the City of Jacksonville who also confirmed that prosecutors, city lawyers, public officials and politicians agreed the Internet cafe sweepstakes game promotion was legal. Again, the testimony they provided to the jury was limited by the court.
The defense ended the week by presenting a computer software expert who ran an independent lab that tested the software used by Allied Veterans four separate times from 2008 to 2011. Nick Farley testified the software was designed to sell internet time and offer a free sweepstakes game promotion to customers. Farley confirmed the screen images that simulated casino style games
did not make a difference as to how the software worked. Farley also testified that the State has never had an expert test the software and never challenged his findings scientifically. The State also never spoke to him before deciding to arrest 57 people based on allegations the computers were running illegal slot machine software.Wesley Stayte, a computer software developer, also confirmed this was sweepstakes software and that the images did not mean the computers were running slot machine software. Stayte confirmed that the sweepstakes software would be illegal if used in real Las Vegas style slot machines. He confirmed the software for Allied Veterans was designed to provide predetermined entries from finite pools and not randomly generated outcomes, an important distinction under the law.Defense attorney Lee Lockett presented witnesses who confirmed Mathis would never break the law. Mathis served as president of the Jacksonville Bar Association
in 2006, just months before taking on Allied Veterans as a client. Such a position is a major achievement reserved for lawyers who are highly respected for their integrity and legal abilities. Mathis was described by witnesses as a law abiding citizen who would never risk his family or professional reputation for any amount of money.Stone said the evidence presented by the defense is based on the truth and the truth confirms Mathis did nothing illegal. Stone also said the evidence verifies Mathis was practicing law for a client and was not a business owner or partner which also proves that the State should never have charged Mathis.The case is scheduled to conclude next week.
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