Allied Veterans commander pleads no contest

In Fla., commander of veterans' charity pleads no contest to operating a lottery

Associated Press

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The commander of a veterans' charity that prosecutors say was a $300 million gambling operation is pleading no contest.

On Friday, Jerry Bass of Allied Veterans of the World entered a no contest plea to two counts of operating a lottery. The plea allows him to avoid prison time.

Bass may testify as a witness for the prosecution and defense during the trial of other defendants. That's set to start next month.

Another defendant, John Hessong, was given the opportunity to enter a pretrial diversion program.

The investigation into Allied Veterans led to the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll after she was interviewed during the probe. She has denied wrongdoing and wasn't charged.

The Florida Legislature banned the operations known as Internet cafes after the arrests of the 57 Allied Veterans defendants.

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