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Action News investigated non-profit leader before arrest

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Updated: 4/08/2013 1:15 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News began investigating Jerry Bass and his veterans group months before his arrest in what investigators are calling a $300 million scheme.

Action News uncovered Bass made money from several real estate deals involving the company Allied Veterans of the World, which describes its mission as a non-profit, making sure those who served our country are taken care of.  Jacksonville's Jerry Bass is the National Commander.

Tuesday, Action News was the first to tell you Bass and several associates from Allied Veterans, including the attorney Kelly Mathis, were arrested. According to the application for a search warrant from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Bass and others profited personally from running illegal internet casinos. They raised millions that were supposed to support their veterans, according to investigators. The document claims only 2-percent of the multi-million dollar agency went to veterans.

Months before these arrests, Action News was looking into the organization's background. In Youtube videos about the organization, Bass doesn't tell you how he's using his non-profit for his own gain to flip properties he owns.

According to the Duval County property appraiser's website, Bass bought a home in North Jacksonville in 1996 for $95,000. He sold it to the non-profit, Allied Veterans of the World Inc, in 2011 for $180,000. That was an $85,000 profit.

In the midst of the housing crisis, Bass also sold two other homes to affiliates of the organization. One property was a home in Springfield. According to the Property Appraiser's website, Bass bought it in 2009 and sold it in 2011 for a $15,000 profit. Bass sold another home on the Westside in 2011 to the for-profit Allied Veterans Management Group.  Bass made a $37,000 profit.

We went to the Allied Veterans headquarters to talk to Jerry Bass in January, nearly 2 months before his arrest.  His office took my phone number, but before he could return the call, we tracked him down that same day.  He declined an on-camera interview, but told me they didn't have anything to hide and asked we contact his attorney.
That same day in January, we called his attorney Kelly Mathis, who said they wouldn't do an interview. Instead, Mathis sent us a statement on January 29.

It read, "Mr. Bass sold his home and 2 rental properties to finance the purchase of another home.  All 3 homes were sold for significantly less than their appraised value. In addition to the purchase price of the homes that were later sold, Mr. Bass spent significant sums for renovations to these properties before they were sold. One home had a significant addition."

According to records we obtained, Bass also got a $325,000 mortgage for the house from the for-profit, Allied Veterans Management Group.  This happened one day before he bought it.  His lawyer, who is now in jail, said it was a temporary loan that was repaid. But he didn't give us any documents to prove that.

In the application for a search warrant for the investigation into Bass and his organization, investigators claim Bass and others profited from selling condos, beach houses and homes.  The documents didn't mention specific addresses.

Action News has learned a lien was placed on Bass' home after his arrest.

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