Federal agents turned off Internet access to three luxury villas at a Las Vegas hotel then impersonated repair technicians to surreptitiously get inside and collect evidence in an investigation of online sports betting, according to defense lawyers challenging the practice.
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. They filed a motion late Tuesday in federal court in Las Vegas to dismiss evidence in the case. According to a conversation recorded by an investigator for the hotel, the prosecutor told FBI agents "it was a consent issue," the lawyers said.
Under U.S. law, a person whose property is inspected generally must waive his constitutional protections against unreasonable searches unless authorities obtain a warrant. Evidence collected improperly is not supposed to be used at trial.
The FBI in Las Vegas referred questions about the practice to the U.S. Attorney's Office there. Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, said prosecutors were aware of the allegations being made by defense lawyers but declined to comment, citing a pending trial.