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Paul Phua Illegal Sports Betting Case: Five Defendants Sentenced

During the height of the FIFA World Cup this summer, members of the FBI raided three villas in Caesars Palace and arrested an array of people under suspicion of running an illegal sports betting operation on the premises. Last week, five of those people were handed their sentences.

Yung Keung Fan, Herman Chun Sang Yeung and Yan Zhang appeared before Nevada U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon where they pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of being an accessory after the fact to the transmission of wagering information. They were each fined $100,000, ordered to give up a further $125,000 in cash and assets, and handed a five-year probation that means they had to leave U.S. soil immediately and not return until their sentence has been served.

Two further defendants were tried separately. Inaugural Big One for One Drop participant Seng Chen ‘Richard’ Yong also received the same $100,000 fine and probationary sentence, but was ordered to forfeit $400,000 in cash and assets. A fifth member, Hui Tang, admitted to playing a more comprehensive role in the enterprise and was handed a $250,000 fine, five-year probationary sentence, and told to stump up $250,000 in cash and assets. A sixth defendant, Wan Kin Yong, saw all charges dropped.

That leaves Paul Phua and Darren Phua to face the gavel. Their attorneys are challenging the legality of the FBI search, which they believe was illegal. If you are unfamiliar with the case, the key argument centers around a plan concocted by the FBI, Caesars Security, and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to cut off their Internet supply and then send in FBI agents dressed as technical teams so they could gain evidence of wrongdoing.

Phua’s lawyers believe that the warrant was only obtained because of the observations that the dummy technical team made during their visit to the villas, and therefore it should be thrown out of court. Prosecutors are taking the angle that as the ISP only cut off DSL service to the villas, leaving Wi-Fi in tact, meaning the defendants didn’t have to invite the FBI agents into the property.

Prosecutors stated that $13m in profit was created in the short time that the operation was up and running.

The two Phua’s will be sentenced this week.



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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.