Home Fourth man arrested in NBA betting scandal involving Jontay Porter

Fourth man arrested in NBA betting scandal involving Jontay Porter

A fourth man was arrested on Friday (June 7) in connection with the sports betting controversy that led to the expulsion of Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter from the NBA.

Ammar Awawdeh, 32, surrendered to authorities after three others were arrested early last week. A legal complaint alleges that Awawdeh coerced an NBA player, referred to as “Player 1,” to settle gambling debts by exiting games early. The strategy, termed a “special” by the duo, was designed to guarantee winnings for players who betted on his underperformance in those matches.

According to a court complaint, Awawdeh wrote on the encrypted messaging app Telegram early this year that he was “forcing” the player to do it and told him: “Screenshot this.”

What happened in the NBA betting scandal?

Porter was “in over his head” with a gambling addiction, his lawyer had said, as reported by ESPN and the Associated Press. “Jontay is a good young man with strong faith that will get him through this. He was in over his head due to a gambling addiction. He is undergoing treatment and has been fully cooperative with law enforcement,” St. Louis government investigations attorney Jeff Jensen said.

Awawdeh was arraigned and then released on a $100,000 US bond to house arrest, complete with ankle monitoring. His attorney, Alan Gerson, declined to comment on the allegations.

While Porter has not been formally charged or named in the legal complaint, the details surrounding “Player 1” are similar to those from an NBA investigation that culminated in his indefinite suspension in April. The NBA found that Porter had bet on NBA games in which he did not participate and deliberately withdrew from at least one game, allowing a bet to generate more than $1 million for a bettor who had prior knowledge.

According to the complaint, Awawdeh, along with his co-defendants Timothy McCormack, Mahmud Mollah, and Long Phi Pham, exploited insider knowledge of Player 1’s intentions to make profitable bets on his performance in the games on January 26 and March 20.

The complaint also notes that a betting company prevented Mollah from claiming most of his winnings exceeding $1 million from the March 20 game.

The accused, facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, have yet to plead. The attorneys for the defendants have generally withheld comments, except for McCormack’s lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, who stated that “no case is a slam dunk.”

Featured image: Ideogram

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Suswati Basu
Tech journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award. With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google. Her…

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