Lawyer: Porter treated for addiction to gambling

Jontay Porter, the first Toronto Raptors The forward who received a suspension from the NBA due to a sports betting scandal was “in over his head” due to a gambling addiction, his lawyer said Friday.

Jeff Jensen, a government investigations attorney in St. Louis, also said in a statement provided to The Associated Press that Porter is cooperating with investigators.

“Jontay is a good young man with great faith that he will help him get through this. He was lost due to a gambling addiction. He is in treatment and has fully cooperated with authorities,” Jensen said.

It was his first statement since a league investigation found that Porter revealed confidential information to sports bettors and bet on games, including bets that the Raptors would lose.

Also on Friday, a fourth man was arrested in the scandal when Ammar Awawdeh, 32, turned himself in following the arrest of three co-defendants earlier this week.

A court 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 called “special,” would guarantee a payout for anyone who bet that he would underperform in those games, according to the document.

Using an encrypted messaging app, Awawdeh wrote earlier this year that he was “forcing” the player to do so and told him, “Screenshot this,” the complaint said.

Awawdeh, who helps run his family’s stores in New York City, was arraigned and released on $100,000 bail and under house arrest, with ankle monitoring. His attorney, Alan Gerson, declined to comment on the allegations.

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Porter is not charged in the case or named in the complaint. But the details about Player 1 match those of an NBA investigation that resulted in him being banned for life in April. The league discovered that he bet on NBA games he did not play in and folded at least one for one bet paying more than $1 million to a bettor who had been tipped off.

Awawdeh and his co-defendants (Timothy McCormack, Mahmud Mollah and Long Phi Pham) used prior knowledge of Player 1’s plans so that they or their family members could place lucrative bets on his performance in the January 26 and January 20 games. March, according to the complaint.

Porter played only briefly on those dates before leaving the court complaining of an injury or illness.

According to the complaint, a gambling company ultimately prevented Mollah from collecting most of his more than $1 million in winnings from the March 20 game.

The defendants, charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, have not entered guilty pleas. His attorneys declined to comment, except for McCormack’s attorney, Jeffrey Chartier, who said “no case is a failure.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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