Fourth man charged in betting scandal that ended Jontay Porter's NBA career

A fourth man was arrested on Friday in connection with the sports betting scandal that led to Toronto Raptors striker Jontay Porter being banned from the NBA.

Ammar Awawdeh, 32, turned himself in after the arrest of three co-defendants earlier this week. A complaint accuses Awawdeh of pressuring an NBA athlete identified only as “Player 1” to pay off gambling debts by leaving games early. The tactic, which the two described as a “special,” guaranteed a payout for anyone who bet that they would underperform in those games.

Using an encrypted messaging app earlier this year, Awawdeh wrote that he was “coercing” the player and told him to “take a screenshot of this,” the complaint states.

Awawdeh, who works in his family's New York City corner stores, was arraigned and released on $100,000 bail to house arrest with ankle shackles. His attorney, Alan Gerson, declined to comment on the charges.

Porter is not charged in the case and is not named in the lawsuit. But the details about Player 1 match those in an NBA investigation that led to his lifetime ban in April. The league found that he had bet on NBA games he did not play in and withdrew from at least one so that a bet would pay a bettor who had received a tip over $1 million.

Awawdeh and his co-defendants – Timothy McCormack, Mahmud Mollah and Long Phi Pham – used their knowledge of Player 1's plans so they or their relatives could place lucrative bets on his performance in the Jan. 26 and March 20 games, the indictment says.

Porter played only briefly on those days before leaving the field complaining of injury or illness.

A betting company ultimately prevented Mollah from collecting most of his more than $1 million winnings from the March 20 game, the lawsuit says.

The defendants accused of conspiracy to commit fraud have not yet pleaded to the charges. Their lawyers have not commented, except for McCormack's lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, who said that “no case is a no-brainer.”

Messages seeking comment were left with an agent who represented Porter, but no current contact information could be found for the player himself.

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