Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ex-NBA player Jontay Porter pleads guilty in sports gambling scandal | The Express Tribune

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Former Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charge at hearing in federal court

Former Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a criminal conspiracy charge over his role in a sports gambling scandal that earned him a lifetime ban from the NBA.

Porter entered his plea to a wire fraud conspiracy charge at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court before US Magistrate Judge James Cho.

The National Basketball Association banned Porter in April, saying he violated its gambling policies by placing 13 bets on league games, including a bet that the Raptors would lose.

Prosecutors charged four other men last month over their alleged roles in a sports gambling operation. Porter was not named in the complaints, but court records made public last week showed that he would face charges.

The four men were charged with conspiring to defraud a sports betting company with “prop” bets, which are wagers on players’ performance, on two Raptors games where they had been tipped that Porter would leave early.

Prosecutors said Porter played four minutes in a Jan. 26 game against the Los Angeles Clippers before saying he had an eye injury, and three minutes in a March 20 game against the Sacramento Kings before claiming he was ill.

The men allegedly made more than $1 million on the games by betting the “under,” that Porter would not hit specified statistical targets.

Porter had amassed significant gambling debts to one of the men, Ammar Awawdeh, who in early 2024 encouraged him to pay him back by taking himself out of games prematurely, according to the complaint.

Awawdeh is free on $100,000 bail and has not entered a plea.

According to prosecutors, Porter told the men in an April 4 group chat they “might just get hit w a rico,” an apparent reference to a song by rappers Meek Mill and Drake about anti-racketeering laws. Porter allegedly asked the men if they had deleted cell phone content.

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