July 22nd, 2024

Now-banned Raptors player Jontay Porter will be charged in betting case, court papers indicate

By Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press on July 3, 2024.

FILE - Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter lookson during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Jan. 18, 2024, in Toronto. Court papers indicate that former Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter will be charged with a federal felony connected to the sports betting scandal that spurred the NBA to ban him for life. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Former Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter will be charged with a federal felony connected to the sports betting scandal that spurred the NBA to ban him for life, court papers indicate.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn filed what’s known as a criminal information sheet on Tuesday. The document doesn’t specify a court date or the charge or charges, but it does show the case is related to an existing prosecution of four men charged with scheming to cash in on tips from a player about his plans to exit two games early.

The Associated Press sent voice and email messages Wednesday to Porter’s St. Louis-based lawyer, Jeff Jensen. He said last month that Porter had been “in over his head due to a gambling addiction” but was getting treatment and co-operating with law enforcement.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace’s office declined to comment on the new developments.

An NBA investigation found in April that Porter tipped off bettors about his health and then claimed illness to exit at least one game, creating wins for anyone who’d bet on him to underperform expectations. Porter also gambled on NBA games in which he didn’t play, once betting against his own team, the league said.

The four men charged last month appeared in court but haven’t yet entered pleas. They’re charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and were released on bonds in various amounts.

A court complaint accused the four – Ammar Awawdeh, Timothy McCormack, Mahmud Mollah and Long Phi Pham – with using prior knowledge of an NBA player’s plans so that they or their relatives could place lucrative bets on his performance in Jan. 26 and March 20 games.

The complaint identified the athlete only as “Player 1,” but details – and even a quote from an NBA press release – matched up with the league’s probe into Porter.

Porter played only briefly on Jan. 26 and March 20 before leaving the court, complaining of injury or illness.

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