Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Jontay Porter betting scandal: Co-conspirator arrested after trying to flee the country on one-way ticket

The Department of Justice released a statement Tuesday evening announcing that a man in Brooklyn, NY, has been arrested in connection with the betting scandal that involved former Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter, who was recently banned for life from the NBA for sports gambling.

While the DOJ’s release didn’t name Porter specifically, the details of the gambling scheme match those released by the NBA when the league issued a lifetime ban to him in April. The release details the arrest of a man named Long Phi Pham, commonly known as “Bruce,” who is being charged with conspiring with others to defraud a sports betting company by placing bets on a former NBA player — presumed to be Porter — in games on Jan. 26 and March 20, 2024.

Pham was arrested on Monday while trying to flee the country to Australia and is being detained as he awaits trial. The DOJ said that three other co-conspirators in the case remain at-large.

The release details that in the Jan. 26 game, an unnamed NBA player was “encouraged” not to play in order to pay off a large amount of gambling debt that he racked up. That aligns with the information released by the NBA, in which Porter played just four minutes and recorded zero points, effectively hitting the “under” in the prop bet people placed on him. According to the DOJ, Porter contacted Pham and told him ahead of time that he would take himself out of the game. Several co-conspirators, in turn, bet the under with prior knowledge that Porter was not going to play for most of the game, with a relative of one of the co-conspirators betting $10,000 and winning $85,000 by betting the under on Porter prop bets. 

Ahead of the March 20 game, Pham talked to his co-conspirators about Porter taking himself out early in that game. He and his co-conspirators then placed bets in Atlantic City with the intention of splitting the profits. In total, between the two games, Pham and his accomplices profited over $1 million.

The release also states that Porter texted Pham and others in on the betting scandal on April 4th about the potential trouble they could get in, writing, “might just get hit [with] a rico,” referring to getting charged with racketeering. Porter also texted asking to make sure the conspirators “delete[d] all the stuff” from their phones in relation to the betting scheme.

Porter was issued a lifetime ban on April 17 after the league’s investigation found him guilty of “disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games.” The league found that Porter “disclosed confidential information about his own health status” to someone he knew was a sports bettor. After several Porter prop bets were placed, licensed sports betting operators found there to be suspicious activity and brought the information to the league office, which is what led to the investigation.

In addition to disclosing information to sports bettors, the NBA also found that Porter “placed at least 13 bets on NBA games using an associate’s online betting account” between January and March of 2024. In total, All told, Porter bet $54,094 and received a payout of $76,059, which means he profited $21,965. None of the bets Porter placed were games in which he was playing, but in three bets, the Raptors were included in a multi-game parlay, and in one of those, Porter picked Toronto to lose.

Aside from the lifetime ban from the league, there has been no further punishment yet regarding Porter’s role in this situation. 

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