Alleged Jontay Porter Accomplice Arrested by Feds

Federal authorities arrested a Brooklyn. N.Y., man they allege conspired with former NBA player Jontay Porter to manipulate his performance so the now-banned Toronto Raptor could pay off large gambling debts.

The United States District Court, Eastern District of New York arraigned Long Phi “Bruce” Pham on federal wire fraud charges, which carry upwards of a 20-year prison term.

According to the complaint, Pham, 38, was arrested on Tuesday at John F. Kennedy Airport. Authorities attempted to question him on Monday. As he tried to board Tuesday’s international flight, he had a one-way ticket to Australia, $12,000 in cash, and two cashier checks worth $80,000.

Federal authorities claim that Pham and three co-conspirators helped orchestrate a scheme in which Porter, identified as “Player 1,” would pull himself out of certain Raptors games to allow the under to hit on various prop bets. Federal authorities named Hahmud Mollah and Timothy McCormack as co-conspirators on Thursday.

The NBA banned Porter on April 17 based on suspicion that he:

  • Shared information with known gamblers
  • Limited his participation in one or more games and
  • Bet on NBA games

Investigators used text messages, cell phone application records, and wire transfer records to build the case against Pham:

“By the beginning of 2024, (Porter) had amassed significant gambling debts to, among others, the defendant (Pham).”

Pham then encouraged Porter to clear the NBA player’s debts by “withdrawing from certain games prematurely to ensure that under prop bets on (Porter’s) performance were successful.”

READ THE BRUCE PHAM COMPLAINT

Federal Authorities React

Said United States Attorney Breon Peace:

“As alleged, the defendant and his co-conspirators, as well as an NBA player, participated in a brazen, illegal betting scheme that had a corrupting influence on two games and numerous bets,” he said in a release. “This prosecution serves as a warning that fraud and dishonesty in professional sports will not be tolerated and those who engage in this flagrant flouting of the law will be prosecuted.”

Federal authorities concur that Porter allegedly assured Pham that he would:

  • Remove himself from a Jan. 26 game against the Los Angeles Clippers and
  • Take himself out on March 20 against the Sacramento Kings to make sure his prop bets did not go over.

The NBA concluded that Porter made 13 bets — ranging in size from $15 to $22,000 for a total of $54,094. His actions match those of “Player 1” in the federal complaint.

Pham and his co-conspirators won more than $1 million in profit on an $80,000 Porter prop placed by Hollah on March 20, but the bet was voided by the sportsbook and reported to the NBA.

This Week in Sports Betting Scandals

Pham’s arrest was another data point in a busy week of professional sports gambling scandals. Former Shohei Ohtani interpreter Ippei Mitzuhara pled guilty in his federal fraud case, where he allegedly stole funds to gamble. And as two cases got closer to resolution, MLB banned Tucupita Marcano and suspended four others for betting on baseball.

The swirl has created a series of narratives in both the mainstream media and gambling echo chambers. Some credit legal sportsbooks for catching players who either didn’t know — or chose to ignore — the gambling rules for pro athletes. Arrests and suspensions back the argument that the integrity-assurance system works.

Others argue that professional sports’ use of gambling as a revenue stream has eroded a thin but precious membrane protecting players from malfeasance.

Meanwhile, any number of unknown betting scandals could be underway with offshore sportsbooks on a much broader scale because of their tolerance for larger wagers. The spread of legal sports betting in the US would have no impact on that unfortunate scenario.

Either way, the perception of purity in pro sports erodes, too, with each incident.

Game 1 Porter Scheme, According to the Justice Department:

Game 2 Porter Scheme, According to the Justice Department:

Porter seemed aware of the trouble he was courting, according to Pham’s charging documents. On April 4, authorities claim “Player 1” said in a group chat between he and the conspirators that they “might just get hit w a rico” or racketeering charge and asked if everyone had deleted all their communications about the alleged fix.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Lead Writer
Brant James is a lead writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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