Photo courtesy of madlyinlovewithlife at flickr.com
In USA v. Phua et al, Docket No. 2:14-cr-00249 (D. Nev. Jul 29, 2014), the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada will decide whether federal agents can disrupt service (in this case, internet service) to a property and then pose as technicians there to help in order to gain entry. FBI agents did just that in June 2014 to covertly search a Caesar’s Palace villa due to suspicions that high-stakes poker player Paul Phua and others were running an illegal gambling operation. National Public Radio reports that the FBI did not have sufficient evidence for a search warrant, so they attempted to obtain it under the guise of being helpful repairmen.
Defense attorney Thomas Goldstein argues that not only was the entry illegal, but the FBI knew it and tried to cover it up, leaving crucial information out of their request for a search warrant after the initial entry. George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg states, “The theory behind this search is scary. It means the government can cut off your service, intentionally, and then pretend to be a repair person, and then while they’re there, they spend extra time searching your house. It is scary beyond belief.” To learn more, view the docket at bloomberglaw.com.