The FBI allegedly employed the ruse against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney
In total eight men were arrested in July after federal agents posed as repair technicians and raided three villas at the Caesars Palace hotel
Under U.S. law, a person whose property is inspected generally must waive his constitutional protections against unreasonable searches unless authorities obtain a warrant
More like a play from Ocean’s 11 than the standard operating guidebook for FBI undercover operations, agents tricked their way inside three luxury villas at Ceasars Palace, Las Vegas, to gather evidence to bust an illegal sports betting ring.
To get away with their incredible ruse, federal agents first turned off Internet access to the villas then impersonated repair technicians to gain entry to get around a warrant, according to defense lawyers challenging the practice.
Dramatic new video, filmed through the lapel camera carried by one of the undercover agent’s, shows the level of subterfuge that the FBI used to bust the soccer World Cup gambling ring in Sin City
Undercover: Federal agents impersonated repair technicians at the Caesars Palace resort in Las Vegas to surreptitiously collect evidence in an investigation of online sports betting during the 2014 World Cup +5
Undercover: Federal agents impersonated repair technicians at the Caesars Palace resort in Las Vegas to surreptitiously collect evidence in an investigation of online sports betting during the 2014 World Cup
The video shows investigators devising code words to use while they were inside, a back-and-forth about the cover story for an agent, who adopted the name ‘Sam,’ which he had used ‘for other stuff’ in the past, and a brief exchange about how another investigator should dress for the role of a technical repair nerd.
‘If you put on that shirt, you have to look the part. Go all the way,’ said Mike Wood, an outside technician working for Caesars, advising Nevada Gaming Control Board Agent Ricardo Lopez before Lopez headed to one of the suites the morning of July 4. An FBI agent, Mike Kung, accompanied him also undercover.
The AP obtained about 30 minutes of audio and video recordings of the covert reconnaissance.
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Inside the Las Vegas villa, Lopez appeared to try to fix an Internet outage for several minutes while glancing around the room and asking more than once to view a laptop screen to verify that Internet connectivity was still down. Defense lawyers said in their filing that Kung, the FBI agent, was sent inside because he spoke Chinese.
Still undercover, Lopez appeared to call Wood from inside the villa and asked him to ‘check the frame,’ the code they had previously worked out. In a brief back and forth, Wood responded that he would ‘trace the wire and make sure it’s tied down good.’
The FBI employed the ruse against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney, Kimberly Frayn, according to lawyers for four of eight men charged in the case.
Defense lawyer Thomas Goldstein, who is challenging evidence the government collected in what he described as an illegal search, said that was code to turn Internet access back on.