Sheriff records show how $17 million in gambling funds were spent

Julia Jenae reports. 3/15/2017

The largest gambling ring bust in Florida history brought down a $300 million operation in 2013. The investigation led by authorities in Seminole County resulted in the arrest of 57 people and closure of 50 gambling rings across the state.

The majority of those arrested settled their criminal cases and served no jail time.  As part of the settlement, the defendants also turned over a portion of their assets. 

A First Coast News investigation in February looked into how those funds received by the government were spent. 

INVESTIGATION | Following the money trail: Operation Reveal the Deal

Records recently obtained from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office show $17.8 million in settlements were received by Seminole County courts. The sheriff's office received $6.4 million of that amount and the remaining $11 million was distributed to other agencies like the Florida Attorney General's Office. 

The majority of the sheriff's office portion, $4.1 million, was used to fund law enforcement equipment and training facilities. Financial logs show purchases of $550,000 for armored vest replacements, $290,000 for active shooter equipment, $260,000 for an armored response and rescue vehicle, and $550,000 worth of standard issued rifles.

Over $1 million went toward community and neighborhood support programs. Donations ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $50,000 were donated to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, NAACP, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Kid's House of Seminole and YMCA of Central Florida, to name a few.

Ninety-one donations or purchases are listed in the sheriff's office log.

Out of the $6 million in allied money seized by the sheriff's office, $150,000 went to veteran causes, in 7 donations made on Feb. 24, 2015.

Law enforcement agencies are required by current Florida law to use 25 percent of forfeited funds for drug awareness and community programs. In 2013, the law required 15 percent be used for the educational resources.  

The fund expenditure records indicate around $400,000 remains unspent.

Though the majority of the Allied cases were settled in Seminole County, some cases were transferred to Duval and Volusia counties.

 

LETF - Allied Cases Public Records Request - Updated 2.16.2017 by Jacob Rodriguez on Scribd

 

LETF - Allied-Public Records Request- Agenda Items-Revised by Jacob Rodriguez on Scribd

 

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