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Internet Cafés Ban Passes Florida House

Much to the harrumph of Florida senior citizens everywhere, it looks like internet cafés are closer to being no mas in the Sunshine State.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Florida Senate panel voted unanimously to shutter internet cafés and senior arcades.

The measure is in large part thanks to Allied Veterans, an internet café operator whose officials were arrested in March on racketeering charges after an investigation by the IRS and Secret Service.

Allied was accused of money laundering after the group allegedly used money from its nonprofit for personal gain and by basically lying about the exact amount of money it donated to charities (hint: It kept a lot more than it donated).

Authorities claim that the internet cafés' former president received more than $1.5 million while the group donated to charities only 2 percent of the $290 million it raised.

(Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was forced to resign last month because of her connection with Allied.)

Both Republican and Democratic leaders have made sure to get any and all money donated to them by internet cafés off their hands by donating it back to charities.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the Republican Party of Florida gave $300,000 of its to veterans' charities.

On Monday, the Florida Arcade Association wrote a letter to legislative leaders explaining that the ban will put cafés and arcades out of business.

The measure, SB 1030, will now head to the Senate floor on Thursday.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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