SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Dozens of people arrested in this week's raids of the Allied Veterans strip mall casino bust had their bonds reduced at a courthouse in Seminole County on Friday.
Allied was set up as a nonprofit to help veterans, but investigators said it was really a $300 million for-profit gambling operation.
Most of the 57 people arrested in the scandal saw a judge for the first time Thursday and had bonds set. However, they had to wait until Friday to see a judge in what's called a Nebbia hearing.
In the Nebbia hearing, the suspects must prove to the court their bond money isn't from illegal sources, including the strip mall casinos.
The suspects met with attorneys and a judge behind closed doors to request lower bonds and to prove the bond money wasn't from illegal activity. Most of the bonds were reduced and several suspects are expected to be released from jail Friday.
“Mathis will be going home today,” said attorney Mitch Stone, who represents alleged Allied ringleader Kelly Mathis.
Stone said friends and fellow attorneys fronted the money to prove it wasn't dirty and he claims his client was nothing more than a legal representative.
Some suspects had waited 48 or even 72 hours to finally see a judge, attorneys said.
"This is a violation of due process. The defendants are not getting a fair chance," said Stone.
Mathis' bond was set at $1 million, but it was reduced on Friday to $200,000.
9 Investigates has just found 26 of the suspects in the Allied scandal have previous criminal histories and some have been convicted of violent crimes.
Anthony Parker, an Allied Cafe operator in Volusia County, has been arrested seven times from Florida to Tennessee.
But in court, his attorney was outraged by the suspect's delayed bond hearings.
"This is like a Third World country. This is outrageous," said defense attorney Mark Nejame.
Parker’s bond was lowered from $250,000 to $150,000.
In the end, suspects had to hand over passports and others, like Mathis, had to promise not to leave the state.
"Now, we're going to be fighting the seizures, we're going to fight everything,” said defense attorney Zachary Stoumbos.
The takedown of the organization even forced Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to resign, though she wasn't arrested for anything.