The Porter saga and a new chapter: 3 Americans charged in illegal betting scheme

US authorities have formally charged three people with conspiring with an NBA player to fix basketball games, prosecutors in New York announced on Thursday.

The New York district attorney's office has charged three American citizens with fixing games and placing bets to make money illegally. Although the prosecutors have not confirmed the name of the player, it is believed to be Jontay Porter.

According to the indictment, Timothy McCormack, Mahmud Mollah and Long Phi Pham, also known as Bruce, "knowingly and intentionally conspired to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud" an online sports betting company.

The three are accused of conspiring with an NBA player to fix basketball games, New York prosecutors said on Thursday.

In April, the NBA banned Toronto Raptors basketball player Jontay Porter for life after an investigation found he had bet on league games in which he played, a punishable offense in the world's top basketball league.

While Porter's name is redacted in the indictment by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, the game dates and other details in the document match the Porter case, indicating that those accused of illegal betting are connected to the case.

According to investigators, McCormack won $44,000 (€40,000)from his bets, while Mollah won more than $1.2 million (€1.1 million).They are accused of getting Porter to leave two matches after just a few minutes for medical reasons so they could bet against him. Alerted by online betting companies, the FBI launched an investigation.

McCormack and Mollah were arraigned on Thursday and released on bail, while Pham was arrested on Monday at New York's JFK airportbefore boarding a one-way flight to Australia with $12,000 (€11,000) in cash and $80,000 (€74,000) in cheques.

The NBA alleges that Porter, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr, placed at least 13 bets on NBA games between January and March this year while travelling with the Raptors or their G League affiliate Raptors 905.

NBA players, as well as other professional leagues in North America, are prohibited by league rules from betting on NBA games. Those found to have bet on NBA games risk fines, suspensions or lifetime bans from the sport.

"There is nothing more important to our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport than protecting the integrity of NBA competition, which is why Jontay Porter's blatant violations of our game rules will be met with the harshest punishment," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in April when Porter's suspension was announced.