Johnny Duncan was arrested on gambling charges in 1987. He was charged with keeping a gambling house, sponsoring unlawful bingo games and failing to follow guidelines for games of chance in Leon County, Fla.
The AP reported at the time that Duncan pleaded no contest to setting up a fake charity, called Army Navy Union, to sponsor bingo games in that county.
He was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered not to operate bingo games in Florida.
"There is no evidence that any of the money collected was used for a charitable purpose," according to court records.
By 1989, the AP reported, Duncan was running South Carolina's largest bingo network, with 28 games. He was described as the commander of Army Navy Union, which sponsored the games. He also reportedly obtained national charters and state permits that allowed bingo games to operate as charitable activities, free from taxes.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, which reported on the Internet cafes in 2011, Duncan and Jerry Bass met around 1995, when Bass was the general manager of Slots of Fun, a 110-machine video poker parlor in Fort Mill, S.C.
Bass was also arrested. No one returned a telephone call to his home.
A telephone number listed for Allied Veterans was disconnected.
Duncan lives in Boiling Springs, S.C., a hardscrabble rural community just north of Spartanburg, S.C. Mobile homes, mill houses and strip malls line the two-lane road leading into the community of 8,000. Duncan bought his two-story brick home with a swimming pool for $286,000 in 2007.
Two of the company's officials — Moses Ramos and Scott Pruitt — live within blocks of Duncan. Court documents showed Duncan the house Ramos's lives in for $180,000 in 2009.
Ramos' wife, Beth, said her husband had been arrested but didn't want to discuss details.
"This has been hard," she said, standing in the doorway of her home.