ANADARKO — Out of a simple white-brick building here, where the windows are painted over and barred, software company owner Chase Egan Burns quietly became a millionaire.
In one Oklahoma bank account, over two years, he deposited $75 million, prosecutors say.
Burns, 37, turned himself in Tuesday morning at the Caddo County jail after he was accused of providing gaming software to an illegal gambling operation in Florida. He was released Tuesday afternoon on a $500,000 bond.
“What we do is legal,” he told The Oklahoman Monday night.
His wife, Kristin Amanda Burns, 38, was arrested Monday night and released Tuesday from the Cleveland County jail on a $100,000 bond.
Both are charged in Oklahoma with being fugitives from justice.
A federal judge in Oklahoma City on Monday authorized a search of Chase Burns' company, International Internet Technologies LLC. State and federal agents spent Tuesday removing evidence from the IIT building in Anadarko.
“It is believed to be the main hub for servers that are used by multiple illegal casinos disguised as Internet cafes … in … Florida,” Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General Megan Tilly said.
Arrests in other states
Authorities in Florida and other states, meanwhile, also were making arrests Tuesday and conducting searches related to the gambling investigation. Almost 60 arrests and 50 searches of Internet cafes were planned.
“It is my understanding that the state of Florida has executed more than 40 arrest warrants today in connection with this investigation,” Tilly said.
Among those arrested in Florida was Jerry Wayne Bass, 62, national commander of Allied Veterans of the World.
Authorities allege Allied Veterans began operating so-called fundraising centers in 2007 and claimed most of the net profits went to veterans' charities.
“In fact, the ‘fundraising centers' were nothing more than Internet casinos that operated slot machines in violation of Florida's gambling laws,” Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Michael Favors wrote in a court affidavit.
“There is probable cause to believe that Allied Veterans and others were involved in conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, and owning illegal gambling businesses in Florida involving slot machines that earned, after deducting prize payouts, over $290 million from 2007 to the present,” the agent reported.
Only about $6 million went to charitable causes during that time, according to the agent's affidavit.
IIT was paid more than $63 million for its work for the illegal operation, the agent wrote.
“That's a fabrication or figment of their imagination,” Chase Burns' attorney said. “I'm almost positive he didn't get that much money. … Not even close to it.”
Chase Burns is being represented by his father, Tony Burns, a former district attorney.
“What Chase was doing was he was actually selling the Internet time,” Tony Burns said. “That's was what his business was — providing the software. And there's nothing illegal about providing software to any business. … That is not anything to do with gambling. The fact that there are other people in Florida that might use it that way, that's beyond his control.”
The attorney also said his son is a farmer.
“A substantial portion of his income comes from farming and ranching, but, yes, he's more than a millionaire, I'm not denying that,” Tony Burns said.
Chase Burns is fighting extradition to Florida. A judge Tuesday required him to stay off the Internet and to stay at his home until the next court hearing April 12.
Oklahoma prosecutors report that in Florida Chase Burns faces one count of racketeering, one count of conspiracy, 51 counts of manufacturing, sale or possession of slot machines, 51 counts of conducting a lottery, 51 counts of keeping a gambling house and 53 counts of money laundering.
Oklahoma prosecutors report his wife faces one count of racketeering, one count of conspiracy and four counts of money laundering.
“They're filing on her to put pressure on my son,” Tony Burns said. “I'm really disappointed in law enforcement getting that way.”