FBI Pretend to Be Technicians to Get Around 4th Amendment

FBI Pretend to Be Technicians to Get Around 4th Amendment November 29, 2014

This story should scare you. The FBI wanted to search for evidence in the hotel rooms occupied by a wealthy Malaysian businessman but didn’t have enough evidence to get a warrant, so they killed the internet to his room and then pretended to be technicians there to fix the problem. Once in the room, they gathered evidence, got the warrant and arrested them. His attorney is trying to get that evidence quashed because it was gathered illegally. From the motion:

The next time you call for assistance because the internet service in your home is not working, the “technician” who comes to your door may actually be an undercover government agent. He will have secretly disconnected the service, knowing that you will naturally call for help and — when he shows up at your door, impersonating a technician — let him in. He will walk through each room of your house, claiming to diagnose the problem. Actually, he will be videotaping everything (and everyone) inside. He will have no reason to suspect you have broken the law, much less probable cause to obtain a search warrant. But that makes no difference, because by letting him in, you will have “consented” to an intrusive search of your home.

Yes, the government — that’s the Obama DOJ — argued that by letting these “technicians” into their room, they had consented to a search by the FBI. They didn’t have enough evidence even to get a warrant to gather evidence, so they said screw the 4th Amendment, we’ll just manipulate a situation through which they will welcome us into their rooms thinking we’re not the FBI and that will show that they consented to a search by the FBI.

Paul Phua, the businessman in question, had wagered large sums of money on the World Cup, but he was staying at Caesar’s Palace, where this is entirely legal. You know what was so important that they shred the 4th Amendment and arrest the guy? He used his internet connection to place other bets on sporting events in Macua. Clearly a dangerous criminal that the FBI simply had to take down, constitution be damned.


Browse Our Archives