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Banned NBA player Jontay Porter admits to $1million gambling scheme and pleads guilty to federal fraud charges, saying he only took part in the plot ‘to get out of debt’

Suspended NBA player Johntay Porter has admitted to tipping gamblers as part of the $1 million fraud that earned him a lifetime ban from the league.

The 24-year-old former Toronto Raptors forward pleaded guilty to fraud and was ordered to pay a fine of nearly $500,000 and restitution.

Porter alleges he made bets and conspired with others “to pay off his gambling debt.”

As he said Wednesday in the courtroom of federal Judge James R. Cho in Brooklyn: “I know what I did was wrong and unlawful, and I am deeply sorry.”

Prosecutors have recommended a stiff sentence of 41 to 51 months in prison. Porter is currently free on $250,000 bail, which his family has secured. Porter must also undergo gambling therapy.

Porter admitted to tipping off gamblers in the $1 million scheme that led to his life sentence

Last week’s skeletal court filings revealed that Porter’s case is connected to an ongoing prosecution of four other men. The four have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud but have not yet entered pleas.

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The men are accused of fudging tips from an NBA player that he would leave two games early, and then using that knowledge or their family members to place large bets that the athlete would perform poorly in those games, according to a court complaint filed when they were charged in June.

The complaint did not name the player. But it said he had spoken to investigators in hopes of a plea deal and reduced sentence “in the event he is criminally charged.”

According to the complaint, one of the four men pressured the player to pay off his gambling debts by withdrawing from games early so that bets on his underperformance would be paid off.

In a message responding to the man’s instructions, the player wrote that if he didn’t carry out the plan, “you’ll hate me and if I don’t get you 8k by Friday you’ll come to Toronto and beat me up.”

After tipping off several men, the player claimed he was injured or ill and withdrew from the Jan. 26 and March 20 games after appearing on the field for only a few minutes, the complaint said.

Porter played only briefly on those dates before complaining of injury or illness and leaving the games. His points, rebounds and assists in both games fell short of bookmakers’ expectations.

After the NBA and others began investigating, the player texted several men saying they “might get hit by Wa Rico,” an apparent reference to the common abbreviation for a federal racketeering charge, according to the indictment against them. The player also asked the men if they had “deleted everything” from their phones, it said.

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The NBA investigation found that Porter not only left at least one game for gamblers, but also bet on NBA games he wasn’t playing in, including once betting against his own team, the league said.

Porter averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26 games this season, including five as a starter. He also played in 11 games for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2020-21 season.

Johntay, the brother of Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr., earned approximately $410,000 in the NBA.



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