Recently, federal agents chose to shut down internet access at three different locations at a Las Vegas hotel. They did so in order to come in undercover as computer technicians. This got them inside of the villas they were interested in and they were able to collect evidence that they needed for an investigation they are conducted regarding online sports betting. Unfortunately this job was completed against the advice of Assistant United States Attorney, Kimberly Frayn. The evidence will likely be dismissed from the sports betting case due to a consent issue.
The issue with the evidence that was collected is that it is a United States law that any person who has property that is inspected must waive their own constitutional protection regarding unreasonable searches. The situation is different if a warrant is obtained but in this case that did not happen and the process did not go down as it should have in order for the evidence to be used. The law also states that any evidence that is collected in spite of this law should not be allowed in court as evidence in a trial.
This latest issue with improperly obtained evidence is actually the third case to occur in just the past few weeks. While this case focused on sports betting the other issues were for drug allegations and a bomb threat incident. While a lot of sports betting research and negotiations occur online, it seemed wise for the FBI to allow this undercover investigation to occur. Unfortunately there was plenty of information found on the computers that was looked at as well as documented but due to the laws being ignored this information may be thrown to the curb. This is an unfortunate case of protocol that should have been followed in order to secure a successful testimony and case.
The FBI found out about these potential criminals when they requested a large amount of electronic equipment as well as technical support within their villas. This sparked some interest from the authorities and an electrical engineer at the hotel actually spoke up and said they believed that one of the villas was setting up their equipment in order to organize an illegal sports betting ring. It was with the cooperation of the hotel’s staff as well as the state’s gaming control board that the internet was ultimately shut off and then inspected by these impersonating investigators by way of video that showed the illegal activity that was going on inside of the villas. The men that were in these villas and were operating the equipment were eventually apprehended by police by way of warrant.
The problem with this sports betting case is that ultimately, police can use some form of deceit in order to gain evidence or access for a certain situation but they cannot actually set up an entire situation that is designed to get them access to a certain location. The suspects in this sports betting case are Wei Seng Phua and his sons Wai Kin Yong, Darren Wai Kit Phua and Seng Chen Yong. In a separate incident there were four other sports betting suspects arrested this past July in the same hotel at three different villas. All eight of the suspects are being charged with running an illegal sports betting business in the Macau area. Wei Seng Phua is also being charged with other crimes as it has been discovered that he is a high ranked member of a Chinese organized crime group called the 14k Triad. Wei Seng Phua is maintaining his innocence and says that he has had nothing to do with any illegal sports betting.