The Las Vegas illegal sports betting case against high profile poker player and gambler Paul Phua would appear to have been significantly strengthened by the decision of five of the eight defendants to plead guilty this week.
Our readers will recall that Phua and seven others were busted by the FBI for allegedly running an illegal sports betting enterprise during the FIFA World Cup football championships earlier this year, operating from three luxury villas at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The case was controversial due to the tactics used by the feds to gain entry to the villas and covertly film the group’s activities (agents cut off the internet connection and then posed as repairmen to affect entry).
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week that defendants Richard Yong, Hui Tang, Yan Zhang, Yung Keung Fan and Herman Chun Sang Yeung are scheduled to appear in court next week, where they will plead guilty to various and in some cases lesser charges.
One defendant, Wai Kin Yong has been freed and his charges dropped.
The deal will allow the defendants to quickly finalise the case and return to their home countries, the Journal reports, commenting that this will leave Phua and his son Darren to fight the federal allegations alone.