The FBI crossed the line when agents cut off the Internet connection at a Las Vegas luxury villa and then posed as repairmen in order to access information from the computers of people suspected of running illegal betting operations, a federal magistrate said, Bloomberg reports .
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said in a non-binding recommendation to a district judge that Wei Seng Phua and his son Darren were subjected to a search based on false and misleading evidence that the FBI used to obtain a warrant.
“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. “However, a search warrant is never validated by what its execution recovers.”
While requesting a warrant, agents never disclosed that they obtained the evidence by posing as repairmen.
Phua and others were arrested in charges of operating an illegal gambling hub involving World Cup games.