Banned NBA Player Jontay Porter to Be Charged With Felony in Alleged Sports Betting Scandal

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
July 3, 2024US News
Banned NBA Player Jontay Porter to Be Charged With Felony in Alleged Sports Betting Scandal
Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Toronto on Jan. 18, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Former NBA player Jontay Porter faces a felony charge in an alleged sports betting scheme, court documents revealed.

Porter, 24, was named in a docket filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. The criminal information sheet, obtained by Legal Sports Report, did not state the specific charges but indicated that prosecutors intend to seek felony charges.

His legal battle comes after four co-conspirators were charged last month with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and other charges in the alleged sports betting and game-rigging scandal that led the league to impose a lifetime ban on the player.

Federal prosecutors allege Long Phi Pham, Mahmud Mollah, Timothy McCormack, and Ammar Awawdeh were tipped off by Mr. Porter with insider information, specifically scheming to profit off prior knowledge of the player’s plans to exit two games early, according to the complaint which initially only identified Mr. Porter as “Player 1.”

The NBA announced in April that it banned Mr. Porter for life following its own internal probe. The 6-foot, 10-inch center-forward played four seasons in the NBA.

“A league investigation found that Porter violated league rules by disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games,” the league said in a statement.

The league specifically cited a March 20 game in which Mr. Porter revealed details about his own health status to an NBA bettor. Another bettor then placed an $80,000 bet online to win $1.1 million in a wager that Mr. Porter would underperform in the game, according to the league. However, due to suspicious activity, the wager was frozen and the winning was never paid out.

From January to March 2024, the league said that he placed 13 bets on games using another person’s account, some of which included parlay wagers that involved his team losing. The wagers during that time period totaled $54,000 and netted over $22,000 in winnings, according to the NBA.

“There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport, which is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of our gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a previous statement about the ban.

The NBA said it shared the results of its probe information with federal prosecutors.

Mr. Porter’s attorney had told the Associated Press (AP) that his client suffered a gambling addiction.

“Jontay is a good young man with strong faith that will get him through this,” said Porter’s attorney, Jeff Jensen, in a statement to AP. “He was in over his head due to a gambling addiction. He is undergoing treatment and has been fully cooperative with law enforcement.”

The court document filed Tuesday does not specify any future court dates in the case.