The Paul Phua sports betting case has already had its fair share of intrigue, thanks to some questionable moves by FBI investigators and the supposed criminal connections of some of the defendants.
Now, new information has been gleaned from recent court filings that bring a little more insight into what exactly was going on in the Caesars Palace villas that hosted Phua and the other men accused of running an illegal sports betting ring there this past July.
Last week, the world at large became acquainted with the Phua case, thanks to widespread attention paid to the tactics of FBI agents. Officials had shut down Internet access to the villas in order to coerce their suspects to ask for tech support help, after which agents took video in the rooms while posing as repair technicians.
Defense attorneys are now attempting to have that evidence dismissed, saying that their clients’ Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the ruse.
Sports Betting Ring Operated in One Villa
According to new information from recent court filings, it seems as though suspicion mostly fell upon just one of the three villas in question. While villas 8881 and 8882 were registered under the names of Richard Yong and Paul Phua, those rooms had little, if any, suspicious activity in them; in fact, it seems that they were mostly used to watch sporting events, primarily the World Cup, which was the major focus of the betting ring.
However, Villa 8888, known as “Constantine,” was a different story. Registered under the name of Hui Tang, who is another of the defendants in the case, Villa 8888 was seen as curious almost from the time the occupants moved into the suite. Eight DSL lines were installed into the villa, each of which was needed for a separate workstation that had been set up in there. Each of those stations also had a computer with three monitors, along with a VOIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol) phone. There was also cable television access at each workstation. Essentially, there was everything you’d need for a fairly large sports betting operation.
Perhaps coincidentally, eight was also the number of people who were eventually arrested as a part of the gambling ring. But those individuals made up only a small percentage of the people who were associated with the villas in question. For Villa 8888, Caesars recorded issuing a total of 19 keys, and they weren’t even certain as to the identity of the people who had those keys, there were so many comings and goings.
Casino Credit in the Millions
Even more people were extended credit by the casino. Yong was given a total of $30 million in credit, while Phua was extended $16 million by Caesars. In total, 27 different members of their group received a total of more than $93 million in markers during the time Phua and his associates occupied the villas.
Some of that money may have been used during the biggest poker event of the summer. The Big One for One Drop was held during the World Series of Poker, and carried a $1 million buy-in.
Yong and Phua had previously played in the tournament in 2012, but chose not to participate this time around (perhaps because of a disagreement with One Drop chairman Guy Laliberte). But Yong still paid for the buy-ins of professional poker players Phillip Gruissem and Igor Kurganov, while another defendant, Yung Kueng Fan, paid for businessman Stanley Choi’s entry.