Ex-NBA player Jontay Porter pleads guilty for wire fraud after betting scandal, lifetime ban

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Jontay Porter, the former Toronto Raptors player who, according to a league investigation, bet on NBA games, gave confidential information to sports bettors and checked himself out of a game due to “illness” for betting purposes, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. The NBA banned Porter for life in April, and he’ll owe an estimated $456,000 in fines and restitution from the sports betting scandal.

Porter surrendered himself Wednesday morning and admitted to the illegal betting scheme, which netted his co-conspirators $1 million while trying to clear his own gambling debts.

“I know what I did was wrong and unlawful, and I’m deeply sorry,” Porter said in front of Brooklyn federal Judge James R. Cho.

Porter’s lawyer, Jeff Jensen, told The Associated Press last month that Porter was getting treatment for a gambling addiction. 

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

Four men have been arrested for their roles in this scandal. On June 4, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced that Long Phi Pham, one of four co-conspirators charged with conspiring to defraud a sports betting company, had been detained. Timothy McCormack and Mahmud Mollah were charged by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn on June 6, and Ammar Awawdeh was charged on June 7.

The complaint in that case accuses the co-conspirators of persuading an NBA athlete who had “amassed significant gambling debts” to leave games early to ensure that their “under” prop bets were successful. These men participated “in a brazen, illegal betting scheme that had a corrupting influence on two games and numerous bets,” United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a written statement.

Canadian authorities have also opened a criminal investigation into the scandal involving Porter, Craig Abrams, a spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police, told ESPN on June 18. That investigation is specifically concerned with games that took place in Toronto on Jan. 26 and March 20, both of which Porter allegedly removed himself from early for betting purposes. 

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