SANFORD, FL -- The national leader of Allied Veterans of the World pleaded no contest on Aug. 23 to operating an illegal gambling operation in a deal that imposes no jail time and no probation.
Jerry Bass, the head of a group at the center of an Internet sweepstakes case, had been charged with more than 200 counts, including racketeering, operating a gambling hall and money laundering, for his role in running 49 Internet cafés in Florida.
Another defendant, John Hessong, was granted permission to enter a pretrial diversion program. Bass and Hessong are among the latest of the 57 Allied Veterans defendants to make agreements with prosecutors. Johnny Duncan, a former commander, pleaded no contest to one count of money laundering and four counts of maintaining an illegal lottery. He will be sentenced to probation at a later date.
Allied Veterans ran nearly 50 Internet parlors in Florida with computerized slot machine-style games, and gave about $6 million to veterans out of nearly $300 million in profits. It was shut down in March. | SEE STORY
Kelly Mathis, the Jacksonville lawyer who prosecutors say is at the center of the veterans' illegal gaming operation, is seeking to get criminal charges against him dismissed. Mathis's hearing resumes next week in Sanford.