SANFORD, Fla. -- Jury selection began Monday in the case against the accused sweepstakes mastermind. Kelly Mathis is the Jacksonville lawyer who prosecutors say was the ringleader behind a $290 million gambling operation.
It comes six months after Mathis and 56 other defendants affiliated with Allied Veterans of the World were arrested and charged with money laundering and other charges.
Some of those arrested entered plead deals in exchange for their testimony. Jerry Bass is the national commander of Allied Veterans. He will also avoid prison time. He was facing more than 200 charges of racketeering and money laundering.
Johnny Duncan, the former President of the organization, took a plea deal last month as well. He will also stay out of jail.
Chase Burns, the owner of International Internet Technologies, also took a plea deal. He is said to have designed the software for the computer games.
This trial is expected to last six to eight weeks. The arrests led to the resignation of Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who had worked as an Allied Veterans consultant. It also inspired the Florida Legislature to ban the Internet cafes.