Tuesday November 11,2014 : "WE DID NOTHING WRONG," CLAIMS F.B.I. IN SPORTS BETTING CASE
Federal government lawyers say subterfuge is a long-running practice for agents.
Defence lawyer claims that federal agents using subterfuge acted unlawfully in securing entry to hotel suites where they believed that illegal activity was taking place were refuted by government lawyers this week in court submissions.
The arguments are rooted in a federal bust of Paul Phua and his associates who are alleged to have conducted illegal sports betting operations from Caesars Palace hotel suites in Las Vegas during the World Cup football
The activity was allegedly flagged by hotel employees suspicious of the unusually large amount of electronic equipment and technical activity brought in by Phua's group, and reported this to the Gaming Control Board, which alerted federal authorities.
That triggered a covert investigation which resulted in agents turning off the Internet access to the suites and then securing unconsented entry by posing as technicians in order to gather evidence.
The government response to the claims of questionable activity focus on the belief that federal agents had reasonable grounds to enter the suites on the information provided.
U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden and two other government lawyers filed the response Monday in federal court in Las Vegas.
The response ignores allegations that a government prosecutor had cautioned agents regarding consent issues, but argues:
"Law enforcement has long been permitted to obtain consent by posing as a confederate, business associate, or service provider. In fact, the government uses ruses every day in its undercover operations."
The submission suggests that the deception would only have been illegal if the agents had left the defendants with no choice but to let the undercover agents into their suites.