Former Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter is set to plead guilty to federal charges related to a sports betting scandal that resulted in his lifetime ban from the NBA. This development revealed through court filings, marks a significant turn in the high-profile case involving the 24-year-old athlete.

Porter appeared on the docket of a Brooklyn Federal Court for the first time publicly on Wednesday, linking him to the alleged game-rigging conspiracy. According to court documents cited by New York Daily News, Porter is expected to enter a plea agreement on July 10, addressing felony charges associated with the conspiracy to commit wire fraud. These charges stem from a case brought against four gamblers in the previous month.

Federal prosecutors plan to charge Porter through an “information” document rather than an indictment. This approach typically indicates that a suspect intends to plead guilty at the early stages of the case.

The four gamblers involved — Long Phi Pham, Mahmud Mollah, Timothy McCormack, and Ammar Awawdeh — were accused of gaining advanced knowledge from a basketball player who planned to exit two NBA games prematurely. These games occurred on January 26 and March 20, as detailed by federal prosecutors.

While the court filings referred to the basketball player only as “Player 1,” the description in the criminal complaint aligns with Porter. The NBA imposed a lifetime ban on Porter in April following these revelations.

Exploiting Gambling Debts

The gamblers reportedly exploited Porter’s gambling debts to influence his actions, persuading him to leave games for medical reasons after just a few minutes of play. According to federal authorities, Awawdeh suggested that Porter could clear his debts by exiting the games early, ensuring the success of “under prop bets” on his performance.

In a Telegram message to Awawdeh, Porter agreed to the scheme, responding, “If I don’t do a special with your terms. Then it’s up. And u hate me and if I don’t get u 8k by Friday you’re coming to Toronto to beat me up,” as stated in the criminal complaint.

The March 20 game presented a lucrative opportunity for the betting ring, especially since Porter had recently performed well, logging 20 minutes with seven rebounds. Mollah placed substantial bets, exceeding $100,000, and stood to gain more than $1.2 million. However, the online betting company flagged these wagers as suspicious and suspended his account before he could collect most of the winnings.

Following the March 20 game, the NBA launched an investigation into Porter. On April 4, Porter messaged the suspects in a group chat, warning them they “might just get hit w a rico,” as per court documents.

The NBA’s investigation concluded that Porter had breached league rules by sharing confidential information with sports bettors, intentionally limiting his participation in games for betting purposes, and placing bets on NBA games. This led to the league’s April 17 statement announcing his lifetime ban.

Porter’s lawyer, Jeff Jensen, provided a statement to The Associated Press last month, saying, “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.”

Porter’s decision to plead guilty marks a crucial step in addressing the charges against him and potentially mitigating the consequences of his involvement in the scandal. As the legal proceedings continue, the implications of this case are likely to resonate within the sports world, highlighting the pervasive issue of gambling and its impact on professional athletes.