Smitty's Internet Bar not caught up in scam

Business as usual at Smitty's in Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Smitty's Internet Bar is not only open for business -- it is gearing up for a big weekend. It will be St. Patrick's Day weekend, they'll be hosting a benefit for a local man in need.

The bar's manager told Channel 4 that they will be raising money for 24-year-old Kevin Whitney, a father who was paralyzed after a car accident two years ago. The hope is to make life a little easier for Whitney and his family.

"The goal is a van and his medical needs, whatever we can do," said Smitty's Manager, Jen Adrin. "We're trying to get a handicapped van for him. We're gonna have various bands. We're trying to help with his medical needs and anything we can do as a community in Mandarin to help the family."

The fundraiser also comes just days after dozens of Internet cafes run by the Allied Veterans of the World were shut down across the state of Florida.

Agents raided nearly 50 Internet cafes Tuesday, arresting and charging 49 people in what law enforcement agencies are calling a $300 million fraud scheme.

The people Channel 4 spoke with at Smitty's in Mandarin Thursday night, both employees and customers, said the fraud scheme hasn't impacted them.

"We're a community local bar. Same people are in here day after day, day in and day out," said a Smitty's customer, David George.

George told Channel 4 he hasn't seen anyone leave Smitty's because of the scandal or any new customers come into the bar since the investigation closed down Allied Veterans run Internet cafes.

Adrin told Channel 4 the bar operates within local, state and federal guidelines. They also want to ensure their community that there aren't any scams happening at Smitty's and prove that the majority of Internet cafes are legitimate small businesses.

"We are not negative, we want to be positive in the community," said Adrin.

VIEW: Flyer for Fundraiser

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