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SANFORD — The Oklahoma cattleman and software designer who helped build Allied Veterans of the World into a $300 million Internet café empire has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a cash-forfeiture lawsuit, records show.

In return, Chase Burns, 38, of Fort Cobb, Okla., will get back $81.5 million in bank and brokerage accounts that had been frozen by the Florida Attorney General's Office and Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

He also gets back his $4.5 million yacht, according to the settlement.

Judge orders Allied Veterans hearing to stop

The money and assets were frozen by court order as part of a series of raids March 12 and 13, 2013, that shut down Allied Veterans' 50 storefronts across Florida.

Seminole County deputies and state agents arrested 57 people, accusing them of racketeering and running an illegal string of casinos that masqueraded as Internet cafes.

At the same time, lawyers for Sheriff Don Eslinger and Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a series of lawsuits in an attempt to seize $103 million in assets that they alleged were the proceeds from the illegal casinos.

Burns' $86 million was by far the biggest Allied forfeiture case.

He is the computer engineer whose software converted personal computers at Allied storefronts into virtual slot machines.

According to another defense attorney in the case, Mitch Stone, Allied paid Burns $70 million in software licensing fees.

Burns had been charged with 208 crimes, including racketeering, money laundering and operating a gambling house.

But in a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded no contest Feb. 3 to two felonies — two counts of assisting in setting up a lottery — and was placed on a year of probation.

State, Seminole sheriff must return millions to Oklahoma gambling figure
State, Seminole sheriff must return millions to Oklahoma gambling figure Rene Stutzman, Staff Writer Tens of millions of dollars are at stake. Tens of millions of dollars are at stake. ( Rene Stutzman, Staff Writer ) -->

His forfeiture case appeared settled a year ago when Bondi's attorneys negotiated a $7 million deal, but Eslinger objected, arguing that he had not been consulted.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal then on Aug. 1 ruled that neither the state nor Seminole County had a lawful claim to Burns' property under Florida's cash forfeiture law because it was in Oklahoma, outside their jurisdictions.

The state and county then threatened to file a new suit, alleging they were entitled to keep the money for other reasons, and the three parties agreed to settle.

On Friday, all sides filed paperwork in state circuit court in Sanford, asking Circuit Judge John Galluzzo to approve the settlement.

That $10 million deal brings to $15 million the total haul for Bondi and Eslinger in Allied Veterans forfeiture cases.

In a Sept. 5 email, Bondi spokeswoman Jenn Meale wrote that other Allied forfeiture cases are still pending.

rstutzman@tribune.com or 407-650-6394

Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel

SANFORD — The Oklahoma cattleman and software designer who helped build Allied Veterans of the World into a $300 million Internet café empire has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a cash-forfeiture lawsuit, records show.

In return, Chase Burns, 38, of Fort Cobb, Okla., will get back $81.5 million in bank and brokerage accounts that had been frozen by the Florida Attorney General's Office and Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

He also gets back his $4.5 million yacht, according to the settlement.

Judge orders Allied Veterans hearing to stop

The money and assets were frozen by court order as part of a series of raids March 12 and 13, 2013, that shut down Allied Veterans' 50 storefronts across Florida.

Seminole County deputies and state agents arrested 57 people, accusing them of racketeering and running an illegal string of casinos that masqueraded as Internet cafes.

At the same time, lawyers for Sheriff Don Eslinger and Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a series of lawsuits in an attempt to seize $103 million in assets that they alleged were the proceeds from the illegal casinos.

Burns' $86 million was by far the biggest Allied forfeiture case.

He is the computer engineer whose software converted personal computers at Allied storefronts into virtual slot machines.

According to another defense attorney in the case, Mitch Stone, Allied paid Burns $70 million in software licensing fees.

Burns had been charged with 208 crimes, including racketeering, money laundering and operating a gambling house.

But in a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded no contest Feb. 3 to two felonies — two counts of assisting in setting up a lottery — and was placed on a year of probation.

State, Seminole sheriff must return millions to Oklahoma gambling figure
State, Seminole sheriff must return millions to Oklahoma gambling figure Rene Stutzman, Staff Writer Tens of millions of dollars are at stake. Tens of millions of dollars are at stake. ( Rene Stutzman, Staff Writer ) -->

His forfeiture case appeared settled a year ago when Bondi's attorneys negotiated a $7 million deal, but Eslinger objected, arguing that he had not been consulted.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal then on Aug. 1 ruled that neither the state nor Seminole County had a lawful claim to Burns' property under Florida's cash forfeiture law because it was in Oklahoma, outside their jurisdictions.

The state and county then threatened to file a new suit, alleging they were entitled to keep the money for other reasons, and the three parties agreed to settle.

On Friday, all sides filed paperwork in state circuit court in Sanford, asking Circuit Judge John Galluzzo to approve the settlement.

That $10 million deal brings to $15 million the total haul for Bondi and Eslinger in Allied Veterans forfeiture cases.

In a Sept. 5 email, Bondi spokeswoman Jenn Meale wrote that other Allied forfeiture cases are still pending.

rstutzman@tribune.com or 407-650-6394

Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel

Manager Mark Woodcock, at the computer, with staff and guests at the Open Door open day.

First published in News

OPEN Door day centre in Mary Street, Taunton, has launched an internet café for rough sleepers and people who have experienced homelessness.

With services, help and information increasingly only available online, access to the internet is important to help someone move forward with their lives.

The internet café will offer a job club, training, mentoring and volunteering opportunities.

The facility was launched on Monday, when Open Door staged an open afternoon.
Somerset County Council has donated a number of old and unused computers to the charity.

 

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Article source: http://www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk/news/11470904.Open_Door_in_Taunton_launches_internet_cafe_for_rough_sleepers/?ref=var_0

Manager Mark Woodcock, at the computer, with staff and guests at the Open Door open day.

First published in News

OPEN Door day centre in Mary Street, Taunton, has launched an internet café for rough sleepers and people who have experienced homelessness.

With services, help and information increasingly only available online, access to the internet is important to help someone move forward with their lives.

The internet café will offer a job club, training, mentoring and volunteering opportunities.

The facility was launched on Monday, when Open Door staged an open afternoon.
Somerset County Council has donated a number of old and unused computers to the charity.

 

  • (0) comments

Article source: http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/11470904.Open_Door_in_Taunton_launches_internet_cafe_for_rough_sleepers/

http://protectmyinternetcafe.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-poster/cache/34ba6_shut_down.jpg

Flashback: 2004
The room was divided into match-box like compartments, each meant for one person. It was dingy, under-ventilated, and smelled strongly of sweat. A few people waited at the entrance. A harried man in his late 20s, clutching a notebook, stopped at each cubicle to inform its occupants how much time they had left.

After 15 minutes, I was shown to a recently vacated space. The bulky and primitive white computer in front of me, with wires and cables all over the place, seemed over-sized for the small desk.

"I want to use the Net," I told the man. After a few clicks, the loud screeching sound of the dial-up modem resonated through the room. As I waited for the connection to be established, I sneaked a peek into my neighbours' screens. While the girl on my right was typing away furiously on the keyboard, the bespectacled boy on my left was ogling at pictures of skimpily clad Hollywood actresses.

http://protectmyinternetcafe.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-poster/cache/34ba6_brunch-24august-pg22b.jpg
Those were the days: File shot of a crowded cybercafe. With more people accessing the Net on smartphones, the crowds are thinning

I returned to my own screen. The embarrassing noise of the modem had subsided and two tiny computer icons twinkled blue-black-blue-black at the monitor's right hand corner. The Internet Explorer page stared back at me and I wondered what address I should go to.

All my friends had gone crazy over something called 'chat-rooms.' I found the whole idea very weird - how could I, sitting in this cluttered room with 10 other people, possibly be able to talk to someone in London? How could this white box answer my questions?

However, I logged into one of those chat-rooms and was almost immediately bombarded with boxes on my screen. Someone called cute_guy asked my 'asl'. I was just 12 years old at the time and a novice to the workings of the virtual world, so I nudged my neighbour (no, not the ogler).

"What does asl mean?"

"Age, Sex and Location," she replied smugly, flaunting her chat-room vocabulary.

That was the day I became part of the information revolution which has changed the world completely. All thanks to one of the cyber cafés that, 15 years ago, brought the Internet to us.

http://protectmyinternetcafe.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-poster/cache/fa70c_with_wifi.jpgBut here's a question. Have you seen many cyber cafés lately?

Present Day: 2014
If you talk about cyber cafés today, what you'll get is memories, not immediate experiences. This may sound odd, given that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reported that the number of Internet subscribers in India has increased from 4.5 million in 2004 to 238.71 million in December 2013.

But the fact is that smartphones with Internet on the go and 3G dongles have made cyber cafés almost unnecessary. Besides, with the recent announcement to provide WiFi in Khan Market (followed by Connaught Place), as part of the WiFi project of the New Delhi Municipal Council, the demise of cyber cafés seems imminent.

Cache memories
This is sad news for people like 26-year-old Samrat Sarkar, who works with Infosys in Mysore and got his first taste of the Internet at a cyber café. "My memories of cyber cafés revolve around trying to understand what 'www' meant and configuring email IDs with cool names to impress others."

But cyber cafés meant more than just being cool. For media professional Esha Arora (name changed on request), whose father had a transferable job, cyber cafés were the places from where she could keep in touch with her friends over email.

Romance was also kept alive in those little cubicles as Gitumoni Sharma, a teacher at Delhi Public School, Guwahati, remembers. "In the summer of 2008, my husband had gone to the USA and calls being expensive, he sent emails. So, on a weekend, I ventured into a cyber café. I had to wait for half an hour before I could get a seat," she laughs.

For students, cyber cafés were nothing less than libraries - minus the effort of plodding through reference books. Now, information of every kind was just a mouse click away. "We would rush to a cyber café to research our projects; to find the most obscure author we'd never read," reminisces Arora.

Please disconnect
All those reasons to haunt cyber cafés have gone now, as businessman Mukesh Talwar can testify. Talwar, 51, set up his Internet Café in Delhi's North Campus area in 2001, with just 10 computers. Over the years, he added 17 more to cater to the increasing number of student users. "Earlier, we'd get around 80 customers per day who would drop in just to browse the Internet," he says. "Because of competition, we were forced to slash our rates from Rs. 40 per hour to Rs. 25."

A spacious room with the latest desktop computers, Talwar's café seems empty for a weekday. "Our inflow has decreased to just about 40-50 people each day," he says. "There has been a dip in our revenue by almost 40 per cent." He plans on scaling down his business in a year or two. "Smartphones and laptops are accessible to everyone, so the business of cyber cafés is fading out," he says.

Sanjay Choudhary, who owns Café 9 to 12 in student-populated area Vijay Nagar, will shut shop next month. "It is running at a loss," he says. "Three years ago when I set it up, I was making Rs. 3,000-4,000 per day. But now I only manage Rs. 1,400-1,500."

http://protectmyinternetcafe.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-poster/cache/fa70c_freedom_surf.jpgMore means less
The demise of the cyber café was inevitable. The web is no longer accessible only through a computer. Today, there are smartphones, laptops and tablets.

If estimates by global research firms International Data Corporation (IDC) and Avendus are anything to go by, the number of smartphone users in India has risen from 29 million in 2012 to 67 million in 2013 and is expected to grow to 171 million by 2015.

And while smartphones are clearly the future, smart-feature phones which boast almost similar features (read basic multimedia and Internet capabilities), form a sizeable chunk of the market (78 per cent according to IDC's Asia Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, released in February this year). For instance, Micromax Smarty 3.0 and Nokia Asha 501, both with touchscreen, camera, email and WiFi facilities, are available for Rs. 3,700 and Rs. 3,900 respectively.

As if the increasing availability of lower-end smart phones wasn't enough, there has been a constant price war between Indian mobile operators over data rates, resulting in cheaper tariffs. 

And it doesn't stop there either. The pricing is bound to come down further with 4G connection making inroads in limited regions.

"Plus, running a cyber café has become a rather sensitive business  now," adds Sanjay. It is now mandatory (at least on paper) for cyber cafés to establish the identity of each user and maintain a log-register containing details of every customer. "I think that's also one of the reasons why cyber cafés have started fading out," says Rajiv Arora, a tech-enthusiast. "Cyber cafés were used by kids, many of whom don't have id proof as such, so they've stopped coming in."

No wonder owners have been forced to move into alternate businesses. Vivek Goyal (name changed on request), who runs a cyber café in Connaught Place, intends to concentrate on his flex printing business that he had sidelined in 2009, when he was first dazzled by the Internet boom.

"Cyber cafés were probably undone by the very thing they popularised," says Samrat Sarkar. "The Yahoo messenger, emails, Orkut - you name it. People got addicted, the addiction led to personal Internet connectivity, and before you knew it, cyber cafés were a thing of the past."

But no one will forget their neighbourhood cyber café: the café that didn't serve coffee, but opened the door to the digital life.

FROM THE CHAT ROOM ROMANCE FILES

http://protectmyinternetcafe.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-poster/cache/fa70c_brunch-24august-pg22a.jpg"My brother owned a cyber cafe. So it was very convenient for me to go early morning and talk to Ram, who was in the US at that time. We met at a chat-room called "We're Just Friends," though we didn't really remain just friends. This was almost 12 years ago and the cyber cafe was the only way I could see him. This continued for 4-5 years, when I finally got a Web connection at home. We have been married for seven years now and have two adorable kids, but the visits to the cyber cafe will remain etched in my memory."

-Chandani Balkrishna Dave (29), homemaker
Photo: Chandani with her husband, Ramesh (32) and kids, Riddh (5) and Dhruvi (9 months)


Follow @JainAtisha on Twitter

From HT Brunch, August 24
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch

Police have made a sixth arrest connected with the raid on July 11 of two businesses operating as Internet cafes.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, 45-year-old Bert French was arrested Wednesday on multiple charges of keeping a gambling house, conducting a lottery for money and owning a slot machine.

Two Internet cafes were raided and five people arrested Friday in what Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said was an investigation into illegal gambling.

Storefronts operating under the name "Senior Social Centers" on Normandy and Blanding boulevards were raided by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in a joint operation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office.

Rutherford said these businesses were offering slot machine and other gambling play on computer terminals.

"It is clear these businesses were offering casino-style games of chance," Rutherford said at the time.

Undercover officers said they had documented the gambling by using the online games. He said they won up to $136, but more often lost money using the terminals.

The day of the raids, five employees of the two businesses were arrested on charges of possession of a gambling device and keeping a gambling house. Shonderika Lowery, Gynarva Monroe, Antonio Hodges, Joyce McCaffrey and Felicia Maxwell were all arrested and booked into the Duval County jail Friday afternoon.  

JSO booking photos of (from left) Felicia Maxwell, Joyce McCaffrey, Gynarva Monroe, Shonderika Lowery and Antonio Hodges

Patrons at businesses when they were raided were questioned and released without facing any charges.

Those two locations had been raided in April operating as locations of "Pete's Retreat," but no arrests were made in that investigation.  They had reopened under the new names.

In a statewide crackdown on the Internet gaming centers last year, 49 Allied Veterans of the World locations were closed and 57 people were arrested on racketeering, gambling and money laundering charges. A Jacksonville lawyer -- Kelly Mathis -- who prosecutors called the mastermind of the scheme, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

The sheriff said he wants to be clear to those who keep reopening these businesses that he will not tolerate illegal gambling in Jacksonville.

"If you're given payouts through these machines, you can pretty much guarantee they're illegal," Rutherford said. "That's the message. If you're out there running them, we may be in your place doing an undercover operation today."

The sheriff is also warning landlords of these facilities, to be aware that they could also face prosecution for housing the internet cafes as tenants.

"For those owners who wish support and invest in these illegal gambling practices, I can assure you that you are throwing away your valued resources in the trash. Those who have continued in the past we often seize exemplars in these operations and we are now seizing every piece of electronics in the business used to commit the crime," said Rutherford.  

Article source: http://www.news4jax.com/news/6th-arrest-in-july-internet-cafe-arrest/27362306

Published September 2, 2014

Find out how the closure of internet cafes is increasing online gambling in the state of California.

All internet cafes in Kern County, California have now been shut down. However, many people have found a solution to these closures in the form of online internet cafes. Phillip Walker, who is an Internet Café Association of California member says it is very easy to participate in online gambling this way.

Online Internet Cafes

One Craigslist ad in Bakersfield, California provides online internet cafe gambling to players from their homes. They can collect their winnings using Western Union. Walker says that all you need to do is visit these websites, get an ID, log into the account and then you can have access to online gaming.  

However, the FBI has warned players that they should think again before they visit these online gambling websites. The FBI website states that cyber companies and casinos that allow wagering or transferring of money for the purposes of gambling is strictly against the law.

On the other hand, the rules for online Indian gaming websites and online fantasy sports leagues are not as clear.

Legality of Online Gambling

Walker says that the laws of online gaming are hazy because there are many different types of online gambling activities – some are chance-based games while others are skill-based games.  

The city council decided that it would shut down all land-based internet cafes because they were becoming a problem for the community in 2013. Councilman Russell Johnson said that these internet cafes were havens for crime, including loitering, illegal drug sales and even prostitution.

Councilman Johnson said they had to do something while they were coming up with a more long-term solution.  

The appellate court of California has already ruled that these online gambling internet cafes are illegal. However, that decision will now be reviewed by the Supreme Court of California. No matter what the Supreme Court’s decision is, it will probably not affect local laws.



Article source: http://www.onlinecasinoreports.com/articles/cali-internet-cafe-closures-spike-gambling-online.php

Police have made a sixth arrest connected with the raid on July 11 of two businesses operating as Internet cafes.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, 45-year-old Bert French was arrested Wednesday on multiple charges of keeping a gambling house, conducting a lottery for money and owning a slot machine.

Two Internet cafes were raided and five people arrested Friday in what Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said was an investigation into illegal gambling.

Storefronts operating under the name "Senior Social Centers" on Normandy and Blanding boulevards were raided by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in a joint operation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office.

Rutherford said these businesses were offering slot machine and other gambling play on computer terminals.

"It is clear these businesses were offering casino-style games of chance," Rutherford said at the time.

Undercover officers said they had documented the gambling by using the online games. He said they won up to $136, but more often lost money using the terminals.

The day of the raids, five employees of the two businesses were arrested on charges of possession of a gambling device and keeping a gambling house. Shonderika Lowery, Gynarva Monroe, Antonio Hodges, Joyce McCaffrey and Felicia Maxwell were all arrested and booked into the Duval County jail Friday afternoon.  

JSO booking photos of (from left) Felicia Maxwell, Joyce McCaffrey, Gynarva Monroe, Shonderika Lowery and Antonio Hodges

Patrons at businesses when they were raided were questioned and released without facing any charges.

Those two locations had been raided in April operating as locations of "Pete's Retreat," but no arrests were made in that investigation.  They had reopened under the new names.

In a statewide crackdown on the Internet gaming centers last year, 49 Allied Veterans of the World locations were closed and 57 people were arrested on racketeering, gambling and money laundering charges. A Jacksonville lawyer -- Kelly Mathis -- who prosecutors called the mastermind of the scheme, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

The sheriff said he wants to be clear to those who keep reopening these businesses that he will not tolerate illegal gambling in Jacksonville.

"If you're given payouts through these machines, you can pretty much guarantee they're illegal," Rutherford said. "That's the message. If you're out there running them, we may be in your place doing an undercover operation today."

The sheriff is also warning landlords of these facilities, to be aware that they could also face prosecution for housing the internet cafes as tenants.

"For those owners who wish support and invest in these illegal gambling practices, I can assure you that you are throwing away your valued resources in the trash. Those who have continued in the past we often seize exemplars in these operations and we are now seizing every piece of electronics in the business used to commit the crime," said Rutherford.  

A Central Valley congressional campaign is demanding an apology after they say the other side crossed the line.

Article source: http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/people-turning-to-online-gambling-after-internet-cafes-close

ONSLOW COUNTY -

Deputies have arrested two men accused or robbing an internet cafe in Onslow County last month.

According to the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, 21-year-old Deontre Ulysses Randall, of New Bern, and 18-year-old Kyle Quinton Boone, of Jacksonville, were arrested on Aug. 20 on Gum Branch Road between Jacksonville and Richlands.

The two are accused of robbing the Lucky Time Internet Cafe on U.S. 258 Richlands Highway on July 21. Deputies said the two suspects had a handgun.

At least one employee was inside at the time, but no one was hurt, said Sheriff Ed Brown.

There was no word on how much money was taken.

Randall and Boone are both charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony larceny, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. They were being held under a $415,000 bond and a $335,000 bond, respectively.

The Sheriff's Office said drug charges are also expected because investigators found marijuana at a residence on Cabinwood Court. Randall and Boone were reportedly at the home, said investigators.