JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CN) - "Allied Veterans" Internet casinos raised $290 million by claiming "most" of the money would go to veterans' charities, but kept more than 98 percent of it, consumers claim in a RICO class action.
Lead defendants Allied Veterans of the World and Affiliates, Allied Veterans Management Group and International Internet Technologies are among dozens sued in Federal Court by lead plaintiff Linda Stepps.
Stepps claim the defendants ran their scam from 2007 to 2012.
The complaint states: "Defendant Allied Veterans of the World Inc. and its associated defendant companies participated in a multi-state and multi-county business that conducted illegal gambling in Internet casinos under the guise of legal electronic sweepstakes. To promote their business, defendants and others operated the Internet casinos utilizing the trade name of 'Allied Veterans' and represented that they donated anywhere from '70 percent,' 'most' to 'all' of the net proceeds or profits from their gambling operations for the benefit of American war veterans.
"On March 13, 2013, the warrant, a federal criminal warrant, 'was served on some of the defendants named herein and certain others ('co-conspirators') in connection with a purported conspiracy and scheme to defraud the public and governmental agencies. The scheme involved, inter alia, deceiving the public into believing that the money spent, and lost, by plaintiffs and the class (i.e. patrons of Allied Veterans' business operations) at defendants' Internet casinos, which operated utilizing the Allied Veterans name, went to a charitable organization that was a member of the Veterans Administration, and was utilized for veterans-related charitable purposes.
"As alleged in the warrant, between 2007 and early 2012, defendants and those involved in the conspiracy alleged herein collected from plaintiffs and the class (after paying out winnings) over $290 million. However, instead of '70 percent,' 'most' to 'all' of those funds being donated to veterans charities or utilized for veterans-related charitable purposes, less than 2 percent of the proceeds were donated in accordance with defendants' representations. The balance - over 98 percent of the net proceeds - was retained by defendants.
"As such, defendants engaged in misleading, deceptive, and unlawful conduct by inducing plaintiffs and the class to patronize defendants' facilities on the basis that the Internet casinos engaged in legal electronic sweepstake activities and donated the proceeds of those activities to veterans-related charities.
"This class action is brought for actual damages, treble damages and attorney's fees to redress violations of Federal law, Florida law, and deceptive and unfair trade practices arising out of defendants' illegal business operations."
Stepps seeks class certification and punitive damages for RICO conspiracy, deceptive trade, breach of contract and other charges.
She is represented by Janine Pollack with Millberg LLP of New York City, and Norwood Wilner of Jacksonville, Fla.
Here are the defendants: Allied Veterans of the World And Affiliates Inc.; Allied Veterans Management Group Inc.; International Internet Technologies LLC.; Grant Park LLC.; I-N-H Management Co.; Seaside Internet LLC.; Coastal Games LLC.; Bearcon Management LLC.; M&S Management Services LLC.; MSG Business Centers Inc.; Game Advice Inc.; Live Oak Internet Services LLC.; B&M Leasing & Management LLC.; Ginlin LLC.; Davis Internet Management Co. LLC.; Blue Waters Technologies LLC.; Intelitek LLC.; Business Center Unlimited Inc.; Lake City Internet Services LLC.; Seaside Internet-Marion LLC.; Infovice Inc.; B.B.S. Management Group Inc.; Horry Technologies LLC.; Digitrac Inc.; Jac Sweeps LLC.; Free Entry Clay County LLC.; Gainesville Internet Services LLC.; Megjon LLC.; Media Advice Inc.; Capital City Internet Center Inc.; Seaside Internet-Putnam LLC.; Infohub Inc.; Davis Internet Management Company LLC.; Gulf Internet Services LLC.; Jerry Bass; Kelly Mathis Esq.; John M. Hessong; Michael Davis; Chase Egan Burns; Kristin Burns; Johnny E. Duncan; and Does 1-50.
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