New York Man Charged In Betting Scandal That Led To Ex-Raptor Jontay Porter's NBA Ban | CBC Sports


A New York man was charged Tuesday in a sports betting scandal that spurred the NBA to ban Jontay Porter for life, with the charges marking the first known criminal fallout from the matter.

Court complaint says player communicated directly with defendant, other conspiratorsJennifer Peltz · The Associated Press

· Posted: Jun 04, 2024 6:53 PM EDT | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

Former Toronto Raptors centre Jontay Porter, seen during an NBA game against the Denver Nuggets in March, was banned from the league for life after a gambling investigation in April. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)A New York man was charged Tuesday in a sports betting scandal that spurred the NBA to ban Jontay Porter for life, with the charges marking the first known criminal fallout from the matter.

Porter is not named in the court complaint, but its specifics about “Player 1” match the details of the former Toronto Raptors player’s downfall this spring. Brooklyn federal prosecutors declined to comment on whether Porter is under investigation.

But Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said the alleged co-conspirators and “Player 1” participated “in a brazen, illegal betting scheme that had a corrupting influence on two games and numerous bets.”

The complaint says the player communicated directly with defendant Long Phi Pham and alleged co-defendants whose names are redacted.

After the NBA and others began investigating this spring, the player warned Pham and others via an encrypted messaging app April 4 that they “might just get hit w a rico” — an apparent reference to the common acronym for a federal racketeering charge — and asked whether they had deleted “all the stuff” from their phones, according to the complaint.

NEW: Banned NBA player Jontay Porter warned his partners in a scheme to rig “prop” bets that “we might just get hit with a RICO,” new court papers show.

A Brooklyn man, Long Phi Pham, has been arrested. Feds are looking for 3 more.

⁦@wojespn⁩ ⁦@Kyle_Schnitzer⁩

—@benkochmanCurrent contact information for Porter could not immediately be found.

According to the complaint, the player owed “significant gambling debts” to at least one of the alleged conspirators and was encouraged to settle them by doing a “special” — strategically bowing out of games so that wagers could pay off for those in the know, who could bet on him underperforming expectations.

“If I don’t do a special with your terms. Then it’s up. And u hate me and if I don’t get u 8k by Friday you’re coming to Toronto to beat me up,” the player said in an encrypted message early this year, according to the complaint.

Porter played four minutes and 24 seconds against the Los Angeles Clippers in that game before saying he had aggravated the eye problem, exiting with no points, three rebounds and one assist — well below what sportsbooks were expecting, creating a payday for anyone who bet the “under.” One alleged conspirator netted $33,250 US, and another’s relative garnered $75,000, according to the complaint.

Nearly two months later, it said, the player told Pham and at least one other alleged conspirator that he would claim illness to exit a March 20 game — and they agreed he would get nearly a quarter of the wagering wins.

Porter played two minutes and 43 seconds against the Sacramento Kings that day, finishing with no points or assists and two rebounds, again short of the betting line.

Some defendants made a combined total of more than $1 million on their “under” bets, but one of them was blocked from pocketing most winnings after a betting company got suspicious, the complaint says.

WATCH | CBC Sports discusses Porter’s NBA’s ban:

Toronto Raptors centre Jontay Porter banned from NBA after betting on games Myles Dichter of CBC Sports speaks to Andrew Nichols after Raptors centre Jontay Porter was banned by the NBA, after a league probe found he disclosed information to sports bettors and bet on games.

A message seeking comment was left for Pham’s lawyer. Pham, 38, of Brooklyn, was being detained after an initial court appearance Tuesday. Accused of conspiring to defraud a sports betting company, he is due back in court Wednesday for a bail hearing.

The NBA banned Porter in April, after a league probe found that he disclosed confidential information about his health to a sports bettor and that he used someone else’s account to bet on games in which he didn’t play. In one multi-game parlay, he unsuccessfully bet against his own team, according to the NBA.

“There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport, which is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of our gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment,” league commissioner Adam Silver said at the time in a news release, portions of which are quoted in the complaint.

The league said it was sharing its findings with federal prosecutors.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday for the NBA and the Raptors.

Porter’s salary for this year was around $410,000. The 24-year-old averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26 games this season, including five starts. He also played in 11 games for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2020-21 season.

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