It’s a scene right out of Oceans Fourteen: The FBI deliberately cuts off Internet service to a gambler’s hotel room in order to force him to call for maintenance service. The repair man, of course, is actually an undercover agent who, acting without a warrant, uses his visit to the room to surreptitiously gather evidence of the suspect’s illegal gambling operation.
Unfortunately for the feds, things don’t work the same in real life as they do in the movies. Where by “things” I mean the fourth amendment’s protections against unlawful search and seizure.
As reported by Courthouse News, U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon has thrown out all of the evidence gathered during the illegal search of Wei Seng Phua’s hotel room at Caesar’s Palace. The investigation had been triggered by the hotel itself after staff spotted what appeared to be evidence on Phua’s computer of illegal betting on the World Cup. The hotel contacted the Nevada Gaming Control Board which decided to bring in the FBI.
Reports Courthouse News:
Then the agents used facts they got during their illegal entry to obtain a search warrant for all three villas on July 9, and seized evidence. The FBI on July 14 charged Phua with transmission of wagering information and operating an illegal gambling business. Phua filed two motions to suppress the evidence, which Gordon granted, but the complaint is still active.