An Oklahoma couple accused in Florida of involvement in an illegal gambling operation invested millions of dollars in a yacht there to entertain politicians, Oklahoma's attorney general reported Tuesday.
The disclosure is the latest in a political scandal that has rocked North Carolina and Florida.
In March, Florida's lieutenant governor resigned abruptly because of her ties to the group accused of running the $300 million gambling operation.
The disclosure about the yacht came in a civil case that asks a judge to forfeit almost $7.8 million of the couple's money to the state of Oklahoma. The state seized $7,783,536 from the couple's bank accounts in March.
The couple, Chase Burns, 37, and his wife, Kristin Burns, 39, deny wrongdoing. They live in Fort Cobb.
Chase Burns and his wife invested more than $5.3 million “in a yacht in Florida for the primary purpose of entertaining political officials,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Assistant Attorney General Kristopher Jarvis told the Oklahoma County judge.
Chase Burns is president of an Anadarko company, International Internet Technologies, which provided software for Internet cafes in Florida.
“What we do is legal,” he told The Oklahoman in March.
Florida and Oklahoma authorities, though, allege the Internet cafes actually were illegal gambling centers where customers played slot machines.
“Internet cafes, like those operated and/or facilitated by Chase Burns, Kristin Burns, and IIT, have been a scourge on the American gaming landscape for nearly the last decade,” Pruitt and Jarvis told the judge.
“Unlike legitimate casinos, which fall under the scrutiny of various taxing and regulatory authorities, Internet cafes operate outside the restrictions society imposes on gaming establishments. Thus, state governments lose the gaming revenue they would take in from a licensed establishment,” they wrote.
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