JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Bond hearings are scheduled early Friday for local attorney Kelly Mathis, FOP President Nelson Cuba, FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas and the accused ring leader in the case, Allied Veterans Commander Jerry Bass.
All of these men, prominent people from Jacksonville, are charged in a what investigators are calling a $300 million money laundering scheme. The scheme is believed to have stemmed from 49 Internet cafes operated by the non-profit organization Allied Veterans of the World.
Investigators say the Internet cafes were nothing more than illegal gambling centers. Mathis' defense attorney says that's a lie. "If you're going to arrest Kelly Mathis and this organization then you need to look at McDonald's, you need to look at Pepsi, every other organization and every other business that's done any kind of sweepstakes," says Mathis' attorney Mitch Stone.
A judge set a bond for all four men Thursday with what's called a "Nebbia hold". That means whoever puts up the money for the suspects to get out of jail has to prove it's not dirty, that it was legally earned.
Mathis and Bass both had their bonds set at $1 million. That's a price Mathis' attorney plans to fight. "Our objective is to get the bond lowered. A million dollars is tantamount to no bond," he says.
Bond has been set at a half million dollars for Cuba and Freitas. Mathis' attorney has filed an appeal. If approved, Mathis could be released from jail by 2 p.m.
Bond hearings for veterans charity scandal suspects