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Feds make arrest in alleged NBA betting scheme involving former player

A Brooklyn man authorities say assisted former Toronto Raptors guard Jontay Porter in an illegal sports betting scheme has been arrested and detained pending trial.

Long Phi Pham, 38, also known as ‘Bruce,’ was apprehended at John F. Kennedy airport on Monday holding a one-way ticket to Australia, according to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court.

Pham is accused of working with Porter and three other suspects who remain at large to defraud sports betting sites by placing bets on Porter’s performance.

Federal authorities say Porter had racked up large gambling debts to the co-conspirators and was encouraged to underperform in certain games so that their ‘prop bets’ on his performance would cash.

Then on March 20, authorities say Pham and the co-conspirators agreed in a Telegram chat before the game that Porter would take himself out by claiming he felt ill. The bet hit when Porter exited after three minutes, netting the group over $1 million in profits.

Two weeks later, according to the complaint, Porter wrote to the group that they ‘might just get hit w a rico,’ referring to a racketeering charge, and asked if the group chat participants had ‘delete[d] all the stuff’ from their personal cell phones.

If convicted of wire fraud, Pham faces up to 20 years in prison.

The NBA hit Porter with a lifetime ban for his involvement in the alleged scheme, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver saying, ‘It’s a cardinal sin what he’s accused of in the NBA.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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