Two new defendants charged in Porter NBA gambling scheme

Jontay Porter NBA Gambling Scheme
Image: Shutterstock

Two co-conspirators have been named in a criminal complaint for their alleged participation in a gambling scheme that led to the lifetime banishment of former Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter from the NBA.

The defendants, Timothy McCormack and Mahmud Mollah, allegedly co-conspired with Long Phi Pham to defraud sports betting operators by encouraging Porter to withdraw from certain NBA games due to his significant gambling debts. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the East District of New York, details the alleged scheme.

Porter allegedly attempted to clear debt

McCormack, Mollah, Pham and another unnamed defendant worked together to allegedly place wagers on the “under” player prop markets for Porter, who notified the group of his intention to leave a Jan. 26 game against the Los Angeles Clippers early due to injury.

According to texts and wire transfer records, Porter was encouraged to clear his gambling debts by withdrawing from certain games early for the “under” bets to win.

Several days before the Jan. 26 contest, Porter was allegedly evaluated by a team doctor for a purported eye injury suffered during a game. Still, Porter was not placed on the NBA’s injury list. After his evaluation, Porter notified the defendants of his intention to leave the Jan. 26 game early “claiming that he was injured.” The 24-year-old would only play four minutes against the Clippers scoring zero points with three rebounds and one assist.

Before the game, McCormack placed a $7,000 parlay bet on the “under” for Porter’s three-pointers made, points, assists, and rebounds. The wager won due to Porter’s early exit.

A relative of the unnamed co-conspirator placed a similar parlay bet for $10,000 on the same contest that netted a $75,000 profit.

Multiple games included in the alleged scheme

An FBI special agent assigned to investigate the alleged scheme also found evidence of fraud during a March 20 game that Porter played in against the Sacramento Kings.

On March 17, Porter had one of the best games of his NBA career but allegedly told family and team officials in the days after that he was sick with food poisoning. Porter would participate in the team’s next game on March 20 despite his claims of not feeling well.

Before the game, Porter notified Mollah, Pham, and the unnamed co-conspirator via Telegram that he would remove himself early from the March 20 contest due to illness.

Mollah, Pham, and the unnamed defendant would then allegedly meet at a casino in Atlantic City to place bets. Surveillance footage from the casino showed the group at the casino with records showing a $66,900 deposit by Mollah into a sportsbook account.

The relative of the unnamed defendant also transferred $65,000 to McCormack via PayPal before an attempt to transfer an additional $25,000 was denied by the payment service.

McCormack would then place an $8,000 wager on Porter’s “under” for rebounds for the March 20 contest while Mollah wagered $10,000 on his “under” for assists. Mollah would also place a $80,000 parlay wager, a $9,400 parlay, and two separate $500 parlays.  

Geolocation data confirms the bets were placed at the casino before the March 20 game.

Porter played only three minutes during the March 20 contest against the Kings after removing himself for allegedly feeling ill. He would finish the contest with zero points, two rebounds, and zero assists. As a result, the wagers placed by McCormack and Mollah won.

Mollah collected $1.1 million from the bets while McCormack won over $69,000.

Despite the winnings, Mollah’s sportsbook account was suspended due to the wagers being flagged as suspicious. The operator would report the suspicious bets to the International Betting Integrity Association and the NBA leading to an investigation by the league.

Porter would feel the heat from the probe as he notified the defendants on April 4 that they “might just get hit with a Rico,” referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Porter suggested the group delete info from personal devices.

Fallout from the scandal

Pham was arrested on June 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport for his alleged role in the scheme. The 38-year-old was apprehended while attempting to travel to Australia with a one-way plane ticket. At the time of his arrest, Pham had in his possession roughly $12,000 in cash, three cell phones, betting slips, and two cashier’s checks for $80,000.  

He has been charged with conspiring with others to defraud a sports betting company. Pham, who considers himself in the 1% of the world’s poker players, faces up to 20 years in prison. According to Hendon Mob, a New York player named Long Pham is ranked 287,829th. McCormack and Mollah have active arrest warrants but remain at large.

Porter has yet to be charged in the case.