Chinese defendants enter pleas Vegas gambling case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two more Chinese citizens took plea deals Wednesday in what federal prosecutors say was an illegal Internet gambling ring broken up by an FBI raid at high-roller suites at Caesars Palace.

Hui Tang, 44, pleaded guilty to felony transmission of wagering information, and Seng Chen Yong, 56, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor accessory after the fact charge.

That brought to five the number of people convicted in what prosecutor Kimberly Frayn told U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon was an illegal $13 million gambling operation.

Charges were dropped against Yong’s 23-year-old son, Wai Kin Yong.

Two defendants — Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and his son, Darren Wai Kit Phua — are fighting felony charges in the case.

The judge noted Tang was convicted of illegal gambling in China in 2002. He fined Tang $250,000 in the U.S. felony case, ordered him to forfeit $250,000 in cash and electronic equipment, and ordered him to leave the U.S.

Yong was fined $100,000, ordered to forfeit $400,000 and ordered out of the country.

A woman and two men from China pleaded guilty Tuesday to similarly reduced charges and admitted that they knew illegal wagers were being transmitted from suites at the Las Vegas Strip resort last June and July during the World Cup soccer tournament.

David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, defense attorneys for the Phuas, watched Wednesday’s pleas and said they would have no effect on their case.

They plan to argue Monday that evidence should be thrown out because the FBI improperly enlisted Caesars Palace officials to shut off Internet service so that FBI agents wearing lapel cameras could pose as repair technicians and collect enough information to obtain a crucial search warrant in the case.

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