When someone is arrested in Jacksonville, the police officers are involved. Usually, the police officers are the ones arresting the person accused of committing a crime. This time law enforcement was arrested. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I am not surprise to see a police officer arrested for a crime. It is rare to see an upper level officer suspected of committing a crime. It is even more rare to see one be arrested as part of a federal criminal investigation.
Nelson Cuba is a police officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He is also the president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Jacksonville FL. This is an important role. According to the FOP website:
“The FOP Foundation funds programs designed to honor America’s law enforcement officers, foster community involvement, and aid the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Each year, individuals and companies around the world join in partnership with the FOP by contributing to the FOP Foundation. These contributions demonstrate their appreciation for the service and sacrifice made each day by law enforcement officers and their families.”
Additionally, the FOP public supports many candidates running for public office. This includes judges, senators, and congress members. It is a respected organization. However, a federal investigation has lead to arrests within the FOP. This investigation began in 2009.
Yesterday, Cuba was taken into custody as part of a federal racketeering investigation. “Also detained were Kelly Michael Davis, secretary for Allied; and Robbie Freitas, first vice president of the FOP. Others who operated the centers were also arrested.” Today, the Florida Times Union reported that 57 people are being charged “for a $300 million racketeering and money laundering scheme orchestrated by the ‘internet café’ organization Allied Veterans of the World.” This “operation masqueraded as a charity and defrauded veterans with less than two percent of profits going to charities. The investigation spanned 23 Florida counties and six states.”
Cuba has been all over the local news in Jacksonville, but he is not listed as one of the masterminds. The Florida Times Union further reported:
“Authorities said four co-conspirators received more than $90 million from the internet cafes: Kelly Mathis, 49, of Jacksonville, Jerry Bass, 62, of Jacksonville, Johnny Duncan, 62 of Boiling Springs, S.C., and Chase Burns, 37, of Fort Cobb, Oklahoma. Mathis, an attorney who represents Allied Veterans, was described by officials as the operation’s ‘mastermind.’ Authorities said Mathis profited $7 million from the scheme.”
There appears to be some suspicion about Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. Today, “Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced that Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has resigned, two days after Florida investigators questioned her about her involvement with Allied Veterans…. Officials wouldn’t comment on Carroll’s role in the investigation.”
This is certainly going to be a hot topic around the Duval County Courthouse. I am sure that many Jacksonville lawyers know Mathis. Many Jacksonville criminal attorneys are familiar with Cuba. Will suspects flip on each other in return for plea deals? Will this lead to a Federal trial? Will this lead to prison sentences for high-profile officials? Will this cause a deeper investigation into the FOP and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office?