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Tag: Gambling

FBI Investigates Unregulated Fantasy Sports Industry That Is Exploding in Popularity

sports bettingBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has opened an inquiry into daily fantasy sports websites amid complaints about insider information and predatory lending, the New York Times reports. 

The focus, according to players contacted by the FBI, was on Boston-based DraftKings, where an employee won $350,000 at a rival site.

The FBI also wants to know whether money was involved in states that prohibited betting on fantasy games.

Fantasy sites have become part of a billion-dollar industry that is unregulated but exploding in popularity.

Judge: FBI Agents Should Not Have Posed As Internet Technicians in Gambling Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

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.

FBI, Casino Regulator Criticized fo Failing to Get Warrant for Evidence Seizure

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI and a Nevada casino regulator entered Ceasars Palace posed as Internet repairman and gathered evidence against suspects in an allegedly illegal online gambling operation without ever consulting with a judge, according to testimony in the case.

The Associated Press reports that Nevada Gaming Control Board Special Agent Ricardo Lopez acknowledged in court, like those before him, that he had no permission from prosecutors and lacked a warrant.

The investigators didn’t even bother to get permission from the hotel.

The defense is trying to get the case dismissed because of what they say was an illegal search.

 

 

Prosecutors Defend FBI’s Ruse to Send Agents into Hotel Suites As Internet Repairmen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors defended the FBI’s controversial decision shut off the Internet connection to three luxury Las Vegas suites in a ruse to send in undercover agents to “fix” the problems, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden and two other government lawyers filed a lengthy court filing defending the practice.

The response comes after the defense asked a judge to dismiss the evidence gathered in the illegal gambling case against eight suspects.

“Law enforcement has long been permitted to obtain consent by posing as a confederate, business associate, or service provider. In fact, the government uses ruses every day in its undercover operations,” the prosecutors wrote in defense of the FBI operation.

The prosecutors said the ruse was legal because it still gave the defendants a choice of letting in the agents.

“Disruption of the (high speed Internet) did not — in any legitimate sense — require immediate attention,” prosecutors wrote.

Opinion: FBI Erodes Media’s Credibility with Fake News Site, Story Used in Probe

By Alexander Dominquez
Daily Titan

Government agencies sometimes do whatever they feel is necessary to accomplish their goal of catching people engaged in criminal activities.

However, there are times when even these agencies must ask themselves whether they are crossing the line.

In their pursuit of criminals, agencies like the FBI could be in the wrong themselves.

The FBI is taking heat from media organizations for its shady tactics to catch a suspect involved in a bomb threat case, according to an AFP article. What they did could almost be described as either childish.

In 2007, The FBI created a fake Associated Press news article hoping that the suspect would click the article, thereby revealing his location to the FBI.

The article would install malware that would essentially track him and provide the FBI with his location.

The fake article, which appeared to be in the Seattle Times, was then sent to the suspect’s Myspace account.

This disturbing information was only recently discovered when a security research for The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted out a link to the case file.

Of course, the bureau is defending its actions in multiple ways.

According to the FBI, The Seattle Times was never named. However, the fake site resembled that of the newspaper.

FBI agent Frank Montoya added in a statement to the Union that the tactic used in this particular case is only used in what he described as “rare circumstances.”

That all may be fine and dandy to the FBI. Still, the bureau’s decision to participate in such a questionable scheme should raise concerns on multiple levels, by media and citizen alike.

When the FBI associated the AP and The Seattle Times with their fake story, they compromised every news outlet’s most precious trait: credibility.

To read more click here.

New York Times: FBI Deception Goes Too Far in Investigating Gambling Ring

New York Times 
Editorial Board

If your Internet service goes down and you call a technician, can you be certain that the person who arrives at your door is actually there to restore service? What if he is a law enforcement agent in disguise who has disabled the service so he can enter your home to look around for evidence of a crime?

Americans should not have to worry about scenarios like this, but F.B.I. agents used this ruse during a gambling investigation in Las Vegas in July. Most disturbing of all, the Justice Department is now defending the agents’ actions in court.

During the 2014 World Cup, the agents suspected that an illegal gambling ring was operating out of several hotel rooms at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, but they apparently did not have enough evidence to get a court-issued warrant. So they enlisted the hotel’s assistance in shutting off the Internet to those rooms, prompting the rooms’ occupants to call for help. Undercover agents disguised as repairmen appeared at the door, and the occupants let them in. While pretending to fix the service, the agents saw men watching soccer matches and looking at betting odds on their computers.

There is nothing illegal about visiting sports-betting websites, but the agents relied primarily on that evidence to get their search warrant. What they failed to tell the judge was that they had turned off the Internet service themselves.

Of course, law enforcement authorities regularly rely on sting operations and other deceptive tactics, and courts usually allow them if the authorities reasonably believe they will find evidence of a crime. Without that suspicion, the Constitution prohibits warrantless searches of peoples’ residences, including hotel rooms. The authorities can jump that hurdle if a home’s occupant consents to let them enter, as when an undercover officer is invited into a home to buy drugs.

The Las Vegas case fails on both counts, according to a lawyer for the defendants. Although one of the defendants in the case, Wei Seng Phua, a Malaysian citizen, had been arrested in Macau earlier this year for running an illegal sports-gambling business, the agents did not have probable cause to believe anything illegal was happening in two of the rooms they searched. And a federal prosecutor had initially warned the agents not to use trickery because of the “consent issue.” In fact, a previous ruse by the agents had failed when a person in one of the rooms refused to let them in.

To read more click here.

FBI Agents Impersonated Repairmen to Gain Access to Computers in Las Vegas Hotel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents acted against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney and impersonated repair technicians at a Las Vegas hotel to investigate online sports betting, the Associated Press reports.

The agents shut off the Internet at a Las Vegas hotel to make it appears as though the computer and hardware needed to be repaired.

Now defense attorneys representing some of the suspects are asking a federal judge to throw out the case because agents didn’t receive consent to examine the equipment being used by the suspects.

The hotel tipped off the FBI of a possible illegal gambling operation.

By gaining access to the computers, agents were able to get valuable evidence of an illegal online gambling operation.

 

Ex-Homeland Security Supervisor Suspected of Using Government Credit Card to Gamble

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Homeland Security supervisor is accused of using his government-issued credit card to gamble at a West Virginia casino.

WHAG News reports that Gene Protogiannis, 55, of Virginia, has been indicted on 45 counts of wire fraud for allegedly using his card in 2013 to obtain cash advances at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Officials said Protogiannis withdrew $115,853.

Protogiannis is expected to be formally charged Wednesday and will face up to 20 years in prison.

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