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What we know about the co-conspirator’s arrest in Jontay Porter betting scandal

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Though it appears that Jontay Porter is not guilty of any criminal offense, his connection to someone who is will likely beg a few questions. What comes next we can only guess at but there is undoubtedly more that’s about to be discovered.

Man arrested in connection with Jontay Porter

According to reports, a Brooklyn-based man was arrested on Monday and charged with conspiring with others, including recently banned NBA player Jontay Porter, to defraud a gambling company. As per the criminal complaint from the prosecutors’ office in New York City, Long Phi Pham, nicknamed “Bruce,” was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight bound for Australia with a one-way ticket. It is understood that he had a total of $12,000 cash on his person as well as two cashier’s checks valued at $80,000, betting slips, and three cell phones.

As per reports, the ticket with which he was Traveling was purchased just one day after government officials attempted to interrogate one of Pham’s three alleged co-conspirators who still remain on the run with their identities having been redacted in the above-mentioned report. To be clear, neither the Department of Justice’s announcement nor the criminal complaint itself mention Porter by name, however, the details of the case correlate directly with the circumstances that led to Porter being banned from the NBA for life. It should also be said that ESPN has since identified Porter as the player involved.

What else have we learned about Jontay Porter’s case

With regards to new information in the case, what we know now is that Porter allegedly missed Games due to debts. To be more specific, the former Raptors player reportedly had “significant” gambling debts which were owed to one of the defendants, an individual accused of encouraging the player to clear those debts with a “special”, the term used to describe the act of taking himself out of Games early to secure specific prop bets hit the “unders”. Further to that there was also a message included by prosecutors in which Porter can be seen telling the defendant “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.”

As we know, Porter’s next move was to leave the Toronto Raptors game back on January 22nd with what was diagnosed at the time as a corneal abrasion. Subsequent to that, Porter allegedly told Pham and his co-conspirators that he would do the same again i.e., remove himself early from a game on January 26th, which he did, notching zero points, three rebounds, and one assist. He would later explain to team officials that he had aggravated the corneal abrasion, but a video review showed that there was never any contact with his eye. As for the bets, a relative of one defendant allegedly placed a $10,000 bet on the under for Porter’s points, assists, and steals which won them $75,000, while another defendant saw a return of $33,250 on a $7,000 bet.

What came next was a game on March 20th, prior to which Porter complained about food poisoning before allegedly informing Pham’s group that he would exit the game early. It’s understood that an agreement was made which would see Porter receive 24% of the expected profits. Once again, Porter left the game early with defendants placing a number of under bets to the tune of $109,900 in total. That amount saw a return of $1,167,625, which means assuming the group stuck to the agreement, Porter would have earned $280,230. It was at that point that betting companies became suspicious, resulting in the suspension of one of the defendants’ accounts while flagging the bets to the NBA and the International Betting Integrity Association, after which the case was handed to the FBI.

Ultimately, as bold as the scheme was, involving massive amounts of money bet on a player who was not a household name, it was always going to end badly. Indeed, that appears to be something Porter knew as one of the messages appears to be a text from him to the group stating “might just get hit w a rico”, before asking them whether they had “delete[d] all the stuff” from their personal cell phones. “Rico” is a reference to the “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act,” legislation that has historically been used to charge individuals involved in organized crime, only this time it was a basketballer. That said, there has been no indication that Porter will face any further punishment. Stay tuned.

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