Brooklyn Man Caught Up In Betting Scam Involving Former NBA Player

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Federal investigators have apprehended and charged a Brooklyn man accused of colluding with a former NBA player to place bets based on his under-performance during games.

Brooklyn man accused of gambling scam

While ex-NBA player Jontay Porter was not named in the charging documents, it specifies that the player participated in only 4 minutes of a game on January 22, recording three rebounds and one assist, which aligns with Porter’s poor performance on that date.

Earlier this year, Porter was expelled from the league for allegedly committing the cardinal sin of betting on games his own games, providing information to gamblers, and faking an illness to influence wagers. He has not been charged in relation to this case.

According to the FBI Brooklyn resident Long Phi Pham, 38, also known as “Bruce,” was taken into custody JFK Airport on Monday after allegedly attempting to flee the country via one-way ticket to Australia following attempts by federal investigators to question him.

Pham appeared in front of a judge in federal court on Tuesday, on charges of wire fraud, and ordered to remain in custody.

The charging documents reveal that the player, who seems to be Porter, racked up huge gambling debts to Pham and others bookies.

One of Pham’s three other co-conspirators in the scam, who is still in the wind, allegedly advised the player to that he could get out of debt for the price of “withdrawing from certain games prematurely to ensure that under prop bets on [Porter’s] performance were successful.”

The documents also note that the player claimed that he performed poorly due to having irritated a prior injury during the game.
Pham and his co-conspirators allegedly made over $100,000 in profits from bets placed on that game.

“Video footage of the January 26 Game neither shows any contact with Player 1’s eyes, nor any apparent reaggravation of the eye injury,” prosecutors asserted.

They also noted that the player “did not subsequently complain to team officials about the purported eye injury after the January 26 game and played in his team’s next game two days later.”

They made so much money, that Pham and his associates met at an unspecified casino in Atlantic City to place bets on the player matching Porter’s description in March, after the ex-baller told them he would pretend to be ill to keep his stats from hitting the over bet.

After his debt was paid off in the first game, Porter allegedly received a slice of the profits they received from the casino, which all the defendants in the case were caught on camera betting at.

Brooklyn man tries to flee the country when feds move in

When Pham was arrested at the airport on Monday, the FBI reported he had “approximately $12,000 in cash; two cashier’s checks totaling $80,000; a series of betting slips; and three cellular phones.”

If convicted, Pham faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

A few more professional athletes were exposed for bad gambling behavior in the wake of San Diego Padres player Tucupita Marcano receiving a lifetime ban for betting on baseball this week.

Four additional players have been suspended by the league for an entire year for placing wagers on their own sport.

The MLB announced that Marcano made 387 wagers worth over $150,000, with 231 related to the league he played for. Twenty-five of the bets were made on Pittsburgh Pirates games while he was on their roster, but not an active player in the games. He only won 4.3% of the wagers he placed.

Among the four other MLB players suspended is Michael Kelly, a relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, who made the bets on big league games between October 5-17, 2021, while he was still in the minors.

According to SF Gate, Kelly bet less than $100 to win a paltry $28.30, despite being on tract to make a whopping $750,00 salary this year.

Another San Diego Padres player, Jay Groome, 25, made 32 MLB-related wagers from July 2020 to August 2021, including 24 bets on the Boston Red Sox while with their minor-league affiliate. His total wagers amounted to $453.74, and he lost just about as much.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Andrew Saalfrank, who played in three World Series games last year, only won five of the 30 bets he placed on Major League games between September 2021 and March 2022. Of the $445.87 he risked, he only got back $272.64.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Double-A affiliated player Jose Rodriguez was also suspended for a year after betting $749.09 on 28 MLB games.

The league disclosed that it was clued into the players gambling activity by a legal sports-betting operator.

The MLB clarified that none of the penalized players participated in games they bet on, and there was no insider information used in their wagers.

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