A federal judge in Las Vegas has ruled that FBI agents went too far when they shut off Internet service to a Las Vegas hotel room last summer, then posed as repairmen so they could get a peek into the room without a search warrant.
In an elaborate, “Ocean’s Eleven”-like ruse, FBI agents went undercover at a Las Vegas casino to catch members of an alleged sports betting ring operating out of a high-roller suite. New video released of the July sting inside Caesars Palace was recorded from the lapel of one of the agents after he gained access to the villas. But how he collected evidence isn’t sitting well with lawyers of the suspects — one of whom is 50-year-old Malaysian millionaire and gambling guru Paul Phua.
The FBI, working on a tip, cut off Internet access to Phua’s room. Agents later posed as computer repairmen called in to fix the blackout. Once inside, the agents glanced at the suspects’ computers in the room, claiming they saw evidence of illegal betting. “I got the URL for the site they were wagering on,” one of the agents says in the video, which was obtained by NBC News. After coming back with a search warrant, the FBI arrested Phua and his son, accusing them and six others of taking millions of dollars in bets on the World Cup.