Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll failed to report thousands of dollars she earned from a veterans charity that was accused of running an illegal gambling operation, newly released documents show.
Carroll abruptly resigned in March 2013 after state investigators questioned the work she did for Allied Veterans of the World before she ran with Gov. Rick Scott. She denied any wrongdoing, but for more than a year there has been no public explanation of why she was initially interviewed by investigators.
Documents obtained by The Associated Press from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show Carroll’s company was paid nearly $100,000 by Allied Veterans in 2009 and 2010 for her work as a public relations consultant. Most of the money was then transferred to her personal banking account.
But Carroll, who was a state legislator at the time, did not report earning that much on either mandatory financial disclosure forms she filed with the state or on her federal income tax filings. She changed them only after she was questioned by state investigators about it.
It was during the investigation that Carroll’s attorney turned over her 2010 income tax filing. Investigators noted she reported to the IRS earning $48,000, but Allied Veterans records showed they had paid Carroll’s company $72,000 that year.
FDLE agents eventually concluded Carroll did not break any laws, but the law enforcement agency has asked the state ethics commission to review the case to see if Carroll violated financial disclosure laws.
Carroll said Tuesday that a couple of checks she received for the work she did for Allied were not recorded.
“It was an oversight, so it was corrected,” said Carroll, who also said she returned some “overpayments” to Allied.
FDLE documents also show that Carroll was asked about other items, including the transfer of $6,000 from her 2010 campaign account to her personal bank account.
The transaction was not reported as a campaign expense. Carroll told investigators she would review her records but said it could have been related to closing her campaign account.
Carroll was also asked about filing a bill that could have affected Allied Veterans.
She told investigators that it was not her intent to sponsor the bill but that it was supposed to be a “placeholder.” She blamed her aide for mistakenly filing the bill and said she withdrew it.
She said Allied was not involved in writing the bill. But Carroll did tell investigators she did not have any concerns about her relationship with Allied because she “did not see them as a gambling operation” and did not believe there was a conflict in her consulting job and her work as a legislator.
The statewide investigation into Allied Veterans of the World resulted in the arrest of 57 people, the passage of legislation outlawing Internet cafes and the successful prosecution of Allied Veterans attorney Kelly Mathis.
Many of the 57 Allied Veterans suspects have reached plea deals with prosecutors that will spare them jail time.
Earlier this month authorities made a second-round of arrests and executed search warrants in an effort to break up two Internet cafe operations that they say were promoting gambling.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.