Feds: Porter Owed Gambling Debt Before NBA Betting Scandal

Written By

Updated on

NBA betting

Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter, who was ultimately banned for life, allegedly owed “large gambling debts to certain co-conspirators” when he violated NBA betting policy. 

This is according to a criminal complaint filed against co-conspirator Long Phi Pham aka “Bruce” on Tuesday in a Brooklyn federal court. 

Pham, a 38-year-old Brooklyn man, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud related to NBA betting. He was arrested Monday by the FBI while attempting to board a one-way flight to Australia at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Feds: Porter warned co-conspirators

Three other co-conspirators remain at large, according to the US Department of Justice. 

On April 4, Porter allegedly wrote in a group chat to his co-conspirators that they “might just get hit w a rico.” He was referencing a racketeering charge. 

Porter then allegedly asked if the group chat participants had “delete[d] all the stuff” from their personal cellphones. 

How NBA betting scandal evolved

“Player 1” in the complaint refers to Porter. He allegedly had the following exchange with the defendant, Pham, in an early 2024 group chat on Telegram.

“Screenshot this … Me (redacted) born (redacted) is forcing [Player 1] to do this,” Pham allegedly texted. 

Porter then allegedly responded: “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.” 

Porter’s NBA betting involvement

According to the complaint, Porter “was encouraged to clear those debts by withdrawing from certain games prematurely to ensure that under prop bets on Player 1’s performance were successful.” 

Porter allegedly told the defendant prior to a Jan. 26 game that he would remove himself while claiming to be injured. He played just four minutes, finishing with no points, three rebounds and one assist

Porter told team officials he had reaggravated an eye injury. He apparently suffered it four days earlier,though he was not placed on an NBA injury list at the time. 

Porter’s alleged maneuvers resulted in a “relative of a co-conspirator” placing a $10,000 parlay on a variety of unders that netted a profit of $75,000. A co-conspirator also placed a $7,000 parlay that netted a profit of $33,250.

Attempting a $1 million parlay score

On March 20, Pham and his co-conspirators had a group chat.

They “discussed in a Telegram group chat that Player 1 would be removing himself early from the game, claiming that he felt ill. They agreed to share the profits for money won on successful under bets placed on Player 1, and that Pham would receive approximately 24% of the profits.” 

Pham and his co-conspirators then placed several bets on Porter at a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Porter played just three minutes, and recorded no points, three rebounds and no assists before complaining he felt sick. 

Under prop parlays by the defendant and his co-conspirators netted more than $1 million in profits. 

Legal market nabs NBA betting plan

When the NBA announced its lifetime ban of Porter, the league said an associate of Porter’s had placed an $80,000 parlay with an online sportsbook to win $1.1 million

However, there was unusual betting activity detected. The prop did not pay out.

As a result of Porter’s suspension, the NBA and its sportsbook partners are considering banning markets that involve two-way players, sources told LSR

Photo by AP/David Zalubowski