Whilst I doubt Paul Phua and son Darren Phua will walk away from U.S soil scot-free, their punishment is set to be a lot less painful than was first originally thought after a U.S. Judge ruled that the bulk of the evidence used against them was inadmissible.
In a ruling that stretched 32 pages long, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said that FBI agents used false and misleading information to obtain the search warrants that eventually led to the arrests of eight people in connection with an illegal sports betting ring said to have focused on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The investigators’ suspicions that Phua was engaged in illegal sports betting at Caesars Palace may be borne out by the evidence recovered in the execution of the warrant, “ Leen said in a non-binding recommendation to a District Judge.” However, a search warrant is never validated by what its execution recovers.”
It’s believed the FBI agents’ post-arrest reports failed to include the quite important point that the agents themselves deliberately sabotaged Internet access in the Caesars Palace villas before entering the premises dressed as Cable Guys full of covert surveillance equipment.
Eight people were arrested, five of whom have already been charged and booted out of the country. Amongst those with a sore bum was Richard Yong. Not that he will be too worried about paying the $100,000 fine and forfeiture of $400,000 in cash and property after winning AU$1,870,000 in the 2015 Aussie Millions $100k Challenge recently.
The ruling is said to be great news for Fourth Amendment fans. I, personally, don’t get it. Are we saying that if the FBI use less than legal means to enter a property and then shoot video footage of someone killing another person it wouldn’t be admissible in court?
“It’s a good day for all Americans,” said Phua’s attorney David Chesnoff, “We have deep appreciation in this country for a constitutional system that protects people against government overreaching.”
Is he taking the piss?
The obvious next step will be an appeal on behalf of the Federal prosecutors – and who can blame them – irrespective of protocol they did catch the gang red-handed. One assumes, should they lose the appeal, then without the evidence there really is no case.
The soon to be ‘no-case’ will be heard by US District Judge Andrew Gordon.