Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll sent a brief note to Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday tendering her resignation after an Internet cafe company that she was a consultant for was linked to illegal gambling. The Republican elect was the highest-ranking woman in the state government and the first black official elected statewide.
Hours after her resignation, 57 people were charged in a $300 million conspiracy that authorities say was orchestrated by Allied Veterans of the World, a non-profit organization that runs Internet cafes. Carroll was the co-owner of a PR firm that represented the group. She is cooperating with the investigation, Reuters reported.
"Although I do not believe I or my company are targets of the investigation, I could not allow my company's former affiliation with Allied Veterans to distract from the administration's important work for the families of Florida," Carroll said.
According to a press statement from the Seminole County Sheriff's office, operation "Reveal the Deal" uncovered a "sophisticated racketeering and money laundering scheme stemming from 49 illegal gambling centers operating under the guise of Internet cafes. The organization falsely claimed to be a charitable veterans' organization, but instead deceived the public and government while lining the pockets of its operators.”
Authorities believe the organization brought in $300 million from January 2008 to January 2012 but gave less than two percent to charity.
Investigators seized slot machines and records as well as 80 vehicles and vessels, 170 properties and 260 bank accounts estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. Besides making arrests in Florida, law enforcement officials made busts in five other states including Oklahoma and South Carolina. Governor Scott will wait until the legislative session ends in May to choose a replacement for Carroll.