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Fla. lieutenant governor resigns amid scandal

ORLANDO — Florida’s lieutenant governor resigned and nearly 60 other people were charged in a widening scandal of a purported veterans charity that authorities said Wednesday was a $300 million front for illegal gambling.

Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll’s resignation came a day after she was questioned in the investigation. Her public relations firm did work for the St. Augustine-based charity Allied Veterans of the World, but she has not been accused of wrongdoing.

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Authorities said the probe involved 57 arrest warrants and 54 search warrants issued at gambling operations in 23 Florida counties and five other states: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said charges, which will be formally filed next week, include racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, and possession of slot machines.

‘‘It’s callous and it’s despicable,’’ Bondi said of the alleged scam.

Authorities refused to discuss any ties between Carroll, a 53-year-old Republican, and the investigation. Her aides had no immediate comment.

Carroll, a Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War, appeared in a TV ad in 2011 promoting the organization’s charitable work on behalf of veterans and their families.

Carroll’s resignation letter to Governor Rick Scott offered no details about her reason for leaving, but the Republican governor said in a statement she resigned so her ties to the company would not be a distraction.

Allied Veterans is suspected of operating more than 40 illegal gambling locations around Florida, according to an Internal Revenue Service affidavit.

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