June 5, 2024 3 min read

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FBI Nabs Suspect in NBA Betting Scandal Involving Jontay Porter

The suspect Long Phi Pham was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 3 as he attempted to depart for Australia on a one-way flight

A New York man has been arrested for his alleged role in a high-profile sports betting scandal that resulted in the permanent ban of former NBA player Jontay Porter from the league. 

Man Charged with Wire Fraud in NBA Betting Scandal

The person, Long Phi Pham, was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 3 while trying to board a one-way flight to Australia. Prosecutors have charged Pham with wire fraud conspiracy, saying he participated in a plot that compromised the integrity of NBA games.

The inquiry into this matter began when the NBA found irregular betting activities surrounding Porter’s performance in matches played between January 26 and March 20. According to a criminal complaint, Porter, who was with the Toronto Raptors at the time, conspired with others to manipulate his own game statistics so that bettors who had wagered on him underperforming could win money. This allowed them to collect large amounts by placing prop bets on Porter’s subpar performances.

US Attorney Breon Peace said that not only did Pham take part in the scheme but also several co-conspirators who have not yet been apprehended were involved, reported The Washington Post. Those individuals worked together with Porter to ensure he left games early due to minor injuries, according to Peace. He added that such acts corrupt professional sports’ integrity and will be prosecuted accordingly.

NBA Player Feigned Injuries to Clear Gambling Debts

It was revealed that Porter had amassed significant gambling debts to one of those involved in the illegal activities, who then forced him into participating to clear what he owed. In Telegram app messages, Porter indicated plans to feign injuries and exit matches early which would result in his stats falling below bookmakers’ thresholds. One message conveyed how much pressure he was under including threats of violence if failed.

During the January 26 game, Porter played for a couple of minutes and claimed an eye injury which led to significantly lower-than-expected performance stats. This earned the plotters large sums of money with one making $75,000 from a $10,000 bet. They repeated the trick in another match on March 20 when Porter again left early – this time citing illness – and once more raked in large sums through their wagers.

The NBA’s probe into these suspicious bets prompted increased attention that eventually drew in the FBI. Betting firms had reported betting pattern anomalies which were flagged up by the NBA and International Betting Integrity Association who then took a closer look at them.

Federal agents tried to interview one co-conspirator on May 30, so Pham quickly booked his flight to Australia leading to his arrest. When he was apprehended, Pham had $12,000 in cash on him, cashier’s checks totaling $80,000, three cell phones, and numerous betting slips.

If found guilty, Pham could get imprisoned for up to 20 years which highlights how seriously law enforcement takes gambling-linked corruption in professional sports.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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