Two more arrested in NBA betting scandal

Timothy McCormack and Mahmud Mollah were both released on $50,000 bond on Thursday morning. They were questioned by federal investigators as early as 30 May, according to the complaint.

Both allegedly bet on games in which then-Toronto Raptor Jontay Porter removed himself early so certain prop bets would pay. Porter is not directly named in the complaint, but the complaint refers to an NBA player who was banned for life. NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued Porter with a lifetime ban in April. He is the only player in the league to have been banned for betting thus far.

Porter was found to have bet on Raptors games and shared personal health information with his co-conspirators.

Two suspects won more than $1m total

On Monday (3 June), the lead character in the scandal, Long Phi Pham, was arrested at JFK airport boarding a plane to Australia. Pham was released on $750,000 bond. All three defendants appeared in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York this week.

According to the complaint, four people besides Porter were involved in the NBA betting scandal, and federal agents continue to pursue the fourth suspect. All of the betting took place on games either on 26 January or 20 March in which Porter removed himself early. Per the complaint, McCormack allegedly cashed a $7,000 bet on the 26 January game, making a $33,250 profit. He allegedly placed an $8,000 bet on Porter’s “under” on the 20 March game, making a $36,000 profit.

Mollah, according to the complaint, made five “under” bets on the 20 March game, winning $1.13m.

DraftKings, FanDuel reported to IBIA

The suspects allegedly wagered with legal operators referred to as “co-official sports betting partners of the NBA”. DraftKings and FanDuel are the co-official sportsbooks with the league. It was previously reported that DraftKings reported suspicious activity to the NBA after the 20 March game.

According the complaint, DraftKings and FanDuel both reported suspicious activity to the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), which passed the information to the FBI.

Mollah’s account was suspended by either DraftKings or FanDuel after the 20 March bet, per the complaint. On 10 April Mollah sent a text to one of the suspects that read “I really need you to hound [Betting Company 1]. At least get me back my principle $.”

Thursday’s arrests continued a difficult week for the sports betting industry. In addition to the NBA betting scandal, news broke on Monday that five Major League Baseball players were being investigated for violating league betting rules. By Tuesday (4 June), San Diego Padres shortstop Tucupita Marcano was banned for life.

Also on Tuesday, Ippei Mizuhara pled guilty to stealing nearly $17m from baseball star Shohei Ohtani to pay off illegal gambling debts. Mizuhara, Ohtani’s ex-interpreter, faces up to 33 years in prison and a $1.5m fine. Immediately after the plea was entered, MLB exonerated Ohtani of any involvement.

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