June 16th, 2024

NY man charged in sports betting scandal that led to Jontay Porter’s ban from NBA

By Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press on June 4, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – 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 isn’t named in the court complaint, but its specifics about “Player 1″ match the details of the former Toronto Raptors player’s downfall this spring. It’s unclear whether Porter himself is under investigation in the criminal case – Brooklyn federal prosecutors declined to comment on whether he is.

The court complaint against Long Phi Pham says the player communicated directly with defendant Pham and other conspirators.

Current contact information for Porter couldn’t immediately be found.

According to the complaint, the player told Pham and others, via encrypted messages, that he planned to take himself out of Jan. 26 and March 20 games early, claiming injury or illness. Porter played 4 minutes, 24 seconds against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first of those games, then 2 minutes 43 seconds against the Sacramento Kings in the second game, both times falling short of wagering lines based on his expected performance.

Pham and other conspirators – whose names are redacted in the court complaint – used that advance knowledge to place bets on Porter underperforming, prosecutors allege. The bets paid off to the tune of more than $1 million for the group, according to prosecutors.

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’s due back in court Wednesday for a bail hearing.

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

“Whether on the court or in the casino, every point matters,” Peace said in a statement.

The NBA banned Porter in April, after a league probe found he disclosed confidential information about his health to a sports bettor, and that Porter himself wagered on games using someone else’s account – even betting on the Raptors to lose.

“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 press release. Portions of that release are quoted in the court complaint against Pham.

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

Porter was on what’s called a two-way contract, meaning he could play for both the Raptors and their affiliate in the G League. His salary for this year was around $410,000; had the Raptors signed him to a standard NBA contract next season, as seemed possible, his salary would have exceeded $2 million.

The 24-year-old Porter averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26 games, including five starts. He also played in 11 games for Memphis in the 2020-21 season.


AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed.

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