The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

State, national, world

November 7, 2013

Okla. AG secures $3.5M from Anadarko couple

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Anadarko couple once accused of laundering money through an illegal gambling ring that involved Internet cafes in Florida have reached a deal to forfeit $3.5 million to the state of Oklahoma, Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced Thursday.

Pruitt, who initially sought more than $7.7 million from corporations controlled by the couple, said the settlement was reached with Chase and Kristin Burns, who had faced charges in Florida.

"There are severe and sustained consequences for breaking the law in Oklahoma, and I hope this sends a message to anyone considering profiting from illegal gambling," Pruitt said in a statement.

The couple were among 57 people arrested in March on felony charges related to a Florida-based charity that purportedly helped homeless veterans. Prosecutors alleged it was a front for collecting nearly $300 million in untaxed profits from sweepstakes cafes.

Chase Burns owned International Internet Technologies and was accused of supplying illegal gaming software. According to court filings, Chase Burns has pleaded no contest and criminal charges were dismissed against Kristin Burns.

A telephone message left Thursday with Burns' Oklahoma City attorney, Drew Neville, was not immediately returned.

As part of the settlement agreement, Pruitt agreed to not charge the couple criminally in Oklahoma.

The investigation led to the resignation this year of Florida's lieutenant governor and a ban on Internet cafes in Florida.

Of the $3.5 million in forfeited funds, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation will receive $875,000. The remainder will be used by Pruitt's office for crime prevention, with an emphasis on money laundering, according to Pruitt spokeswoman Diane Clay.

 

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