JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The man who exposed a massive fraud ring that investigators say cheated veterans in six states, is a war vet himself.
The operation was largely focused on Florida with 49 gambling centers in 23 Florida counties disguised as internet cafes according to investigators. As Action News was the first to tell you, Allied Veterans of the World Inc. and Affiliates, investigators say was not the non-profit they claimed to be. Instead the group cloaked as a charity is accused of lining their own pockets with millions of dollars and not giving it to the Veterans the promised to benefit.
As local veterans are hearing of the scam centered on exploiting them, they can celebrate a small victory. The Seminole County Sheriff announced in a news conference it was a veteran who actually made one of the first calls to law enforcement to report one of these internet cafes back in 2007.
Authorities in Seminole County walked into one of the stores and was shocked by what he found.
"He opened the door and said, 'My God!' This isn't about veterans, this is a casino,'" explained Sheriff Donald Eslinger. "This is a Vet of World War II and he attended West Point and he called, along with several others, but I remember him, and I called him today and I said, 'Guess what? Mister so and so because of your complaint we've now reached this phase of the investigation.'"
Sheriff Eslinger did not provide the veteran's name to the public.