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Judge sets $750K bail for Brooklyn “poker shark” in $1M gambling scheme with banned NBA player Jontay Porter

A self-described “poker shark” was busted for his function in pushing former Toronto Raptors ahead Jontay Porter — who’s banned for life from the NBA — to go away video games early with phony accidents as a part of a $1 million sports activities betting scandal.

A federal decide set bail at $750,000 for Long Phi Pham on fraud expenses after discovering he was attempting to skip city when he tried Monday to board a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Australia on a one-way ticket.

“I think he is trying to flee the country to evade prosecution,” Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak mentioned throughout a listening to in Brooklyn federal court docket. “I am sitting here today with very serious doubts that I am making a big mistake.”

Pham, 38, is a member of a crew to whom Porter owed an enormous sum to earlier than tanking his efficiency in not less than two video games at their behest, the feds declare.

Instead of heading out on the lam, Pham was really headed to Sydney, Australia for a poker event on the Star Casino, his lawyer Michael Soshnick mentioned.

Pham describes himself as a poker player that ranks in the “one percent of poker players in the world,” the legal professional instructed reporters afterward.

According the Hendon Mob database of worldwide poker gamers, the only player named Long Pham from New York is ranked 287,829th in the world with simply $3,330 in event winnings.

Soshnick had no touch upon whether or not his shopper personally knew Jontay Porter

Pham might be launched from custody as quickly as Thursday after he posts the bond with the assistance of kin who’re placing up two properties as collateral, his lawyer mentioned.

He’ll even be topic to dwelling confinement and GPS monitoring, the decide mentioned.

porter
Porter had been making a wage of $410,000 earlier than his lifetime ban. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn man is going through wire fraud expenses primarily based on allegedly working with the journeyman NBA player Porter, 24, to rig the “under” on bets primarily based on Porter’s efficiency in a recreation, like what number of factors or rebounds he would have.

Porter faked a watch harm in a Jan. 26 recreation in opposition to the Los Angeles Clippers and left a March 20 recreation in opposition to the Sacramento Kings early with a phony “illness” excuse — guaranteeing that the “unders” on these wagers would hit, court docket papers allege.

The alleged crew members made greater than $1 million on their rigged “under” bets, however a few of the winnings have been by no means collected after a gambling firm marked it as suspicious, court docket papers say.

Prosecutors disclosed Wednesday that Pham concerned his personal sister, Linh Pham, in the scheme. His sister, now one of many suretors on his bond, positioned a $2,000 wager on Porter’s “under” on the March 20 recreation, Benjamin Weintraub mentioned.

Linh Pham isn’t charged with a criminal offense and it’s unclear whether or not she knew that her brother had inside info when she positioned the wager. Long Phi Pham makes use of his kin as “straw bettors at best,” Weintraub mentioned.

Long Phi additionally purchased $100,000 value of Rolex watches and despatched them to certainly one of his sisters, which prosecutors in court docket referred to as a “transfer of liquid cash” in arguing for bail to be set.

guys at dinner
Long Phi Pham claims to be one of many world’s greatest poker gamers , his lawyer mentioned. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

“What this says to the government is that this defendant has no concern involving his family members in his illicit, illegal conduct,” Weintraub instructed the court docket.

A spokesman for Eastern District U.S. Attorney Breon Peace declined to remark Wednesday on whether or not Porter himself is beneath investigation. Authorities say they’re wanting for not less than three unidentified co-conspirators in the alleged scheme.

Before his lifetime ban, Porter had been making a wage of simply over $410,000.

ggambling on phone
The scheme referred to as for Porter to go away video games early to ensure the “unders” on his efficiency bets would hit, the feds say. REDPIXEL – inventory.adobe.com

At the NBA stage, he averaged simply 4.4 factors, 3.2 rebounds and a couple of.3 assists in 26 video games this season, however he’d had extra success in the lower-level G league, the place he put up 16.1 factors and 10.1 rebounds over three seasons.

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