Fourth suspect in NBA gambling scandal turns himself in

Fourth suspect in NBA gambling scandal turns himself in

On Friday (7 June) the US Attorney’s office for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York announced that the fourth, and last, suspect in the NBA sports betting scandal has turned himself in. Ammar Awawdeh is scheduled to be arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court later today.

Awawdeh, Timothy McCormack, Mahmud Mollah and Long Phi Pham all allegedly conspired with former NBA player Jontay Porter. According to the complaint, the NBA gambling scandal revolved around Porter twice removing himself from games so that “under” bets made by the defendants would pay.

The four defendants bet on Toronto Raptors games which were played on 26 January and 20 March. They wagered with legal operators DraftKings and FanDuel, who ultimately reported suspicious activity to the NBA and the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA).

In April NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Porter from the league for life. Porter isn’t directly named in the complaint, but is referred to as “Player 1”, who was issued a lifetime ban. Porter is the only NBA player to get a lifetime ban.

Similarly, DraftKings and FanDuel aren’t explicitly named, but are referred to as “Betting Company 1” and “Betting Company 2”. In the complaint, federal investigators wrote that the betting companies are “co-official sports betting partners of the NBA”. DraftKings and FanDuel are the co-official sportsbooks with the league.

JUST IN: Former #Mizzou basketball player Jontay Porter, banned from NBA for sports betting, released his first statement through his attorney to @ksdknews.

“Jontay Porter was in over his head due to a gambling addiction. He is undergoing treatment.”

— Rob Edwards (@RobertDEdwards) June 7, 2024

Awawdeh threatened Porter

The US Attorney’s office released the unredacted complaint for the NBA gambling scandal on Friday. It revealed that Awawdeh is the author of a text to Porter that suggested a way for Porter to pay down debt. The suggestion was to do a “special” or leave a game early to make sure under bets paid. Also revealed is a text that Awawdeh allegedly sent to Porter that reads: “Screenshot this … Me ammar awawdeh born 7/23/91 is forcing [Player 1] to do this.”

Porter allegedly replied with: “If I don’t do a special with your terms. Then it’s up. And u hate me and if I don’t get you 8k by Friday you’re coming to Toronto to beat me up.”

While the defendants were betting with legal operators, when taken together the texts seem to indicate that Porter was betting illegally. If that is true then Porter could face criminal charges, in addition to being banned from the league. Silver issued the lifetime ban in part because Porter shared personal health information, which is not a criminal offence, but betting with an unregulated, illegal bookmaker is.

Awawdeh funded another suspect’s bets

According to the complaint, Awawdeh did not personally bet on the 26 January game, but a relative of his did. That person put down $10,000 on an “under” parlay that paid because Porter did not meet the bet’s threshold for three-pointers, assists and steals. The bet paid $85,000 and the profit was $75,000. Awawdeh did not bet on the 20 March game either.

However, Awawdeh may have had more money down on Porter than it appears. The complaint shows that Awawdeh sent a text to Mollah on 10 April that reads: “I really need you to hound [Betting Company 1]. At least get me back my principle $.” FBI Special Agent Dominic Mariani wrote in the complaint that he interprets this text to mean that Awawdeh funded Mollah’s bet.

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