June 16, 2024

Hopping a flight out of the country

Federal agents have apprehended one of the co-conspirators in the sports betting scheme that resulted in the Toronto Raptors’ Jontay Porter being permanently banned from the NBA. Long Phi Pham, also known as “Bruce,” was arrested on Monday at New York’s JFK International Airport as he prepared to board a one-way flight to Australia and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak on Tuesday.

Pham is accused of working with Porter and three other co-conspirators to defraud sportsbooks. Should he be found guilty of wire fraud, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace in Tuesday’s press release. “As alleged, the defendant and his co-conspirators, as well as an NBA player, participated in a brazen, illegal betting scheme that had a corrupting influence on two games and numerous bets.”

The three other co-conspirators are still at large.

L.A. Clippers: faked an injury

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (USAO), Jontay Porter was deep in gambling debt to some of the co-conspirators. As such, they came up with the plan to have him pull out of certain games early so that the co-conspirators could win big betting on “under” prop bets.

The first game was on January 26, 2024 against the L.A. Clippers, a game which had been heavily rumored to be an affected game, but that was not mentioned by the NBA in its announcement of Porter’s ban. Porter had sustained an eye injury days before and told Pham that he would say he reaggravated it so he would be taken out of the game quickly.

Porter complained about his eye and withdrew from the game

After playing four minutes and recording a minimal stat line, Porter complained about his eye and withdrew from the game. Anyone who bet the under on his prop bet lines easily won their wagers.

One such person was a relative of a co-conspirator, who bet $10,000 on a parlay consisting of Porter unders and profited $75,000. Additionally, a co-conspirator bet $7,000 on a Porter parlay and profited $33,250.

Sacramento Kings: feigned illness

The March 20, 2024 game against the Sacramento Kings was the one that the NBA cited in announcing Jontay Porter’s punishment. Once again, he planned to pull out of the game early so that his co-conspirators could win parlays betting on his unders. This time, the group discussed in a Telegram group chat that Porter would say he was sick.

In its complaint, the USAO said that the co-conspirators agreed to share in the profits, with Pham getting a 24% cut.

Long Phi Pham (the man whose face is not redacted) meeting with co-conspirators on March 20, 2024 at an Atlantic City casino. [Image: USAO for the Eastern District of New York]

After three minutes of action, Porter left the game, scoring zero points, grabbing three rebounds, and notching zero assists. The co-conspirator group profited over $1m from prop bets. This included the bettor the NBA referenced in its April 17, 2024 statement, who wagered $80,000 and won $1.12m, for profit of $1.04m.

On April 4, 2024, knowing he was under investigation, Porter told group in their chat that they “might just get hit w a rico,” meaning a racketeering charge, and asked if they “delete[d] all the stuff” from their cell phones. Porter was banned from the NBA for life less than two weeks later.

The post Man Connected to Jontay Porter Arrested for Role in NBA Betting Scheme appeared first on Vegas Slots Online News.

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