Skip to main content
Press Release

Brooklyn Man Arrested for Illegal Sports Betting Scheme Involving National Basketball Association Player

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
NBA Player Warned Co-Conspirators in Group Chat That They "might just get hit with a rico"

A criminal complaint was filed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Long Phi Pham, also known as “Bruce,” with conspiring with others to defraud a sports betting company (Betting Company 1) by placing “under prop” bets on a National Basketball Association (NBA) player (Player 1) in NBA games on January 26, 2024 and on March 20, 2024. Pham was arrested on Monday and made his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak. Pham was ordered detained pending trial. Three co-conspirators charged in the scheme remain at large.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charge.

“Whether on the court or in the casino, every point matters. As alleged, the defendant and his co-conspirators, as well as an NBA player, participated in a brazen, illegal betting scheme that had a corrupting influence on two games and numerous bets,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This prosecution serves as a warning that fraud and dishonesty in professional sports will not be tolerated and those who engage in this flagrant flouting of the law will be prosecuted.”

"Long Phi Pham allegedly participated in a conspiracy to defraud an online sports betting website, encouraging an NBA player to unnecessarily withdraw himself from select games in an attempt to profit from personal bets made with this advanced, insider knowledge. These alleged actions violated the prohibition of using non-public information - eliminating the risk associated with the unpredictable nature of the betting world – an unfair advantage not afforded to other bettors. There is no 'over/under' when intentionally circumventing rules for financial gain, the FBI remains vigilant in its investigations of those who engage in such fraudulent conspiracies," stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.

The Betting Scheme

The NBA is a professional basketball league in North America. The NBA maintains a code of conduct for all of its players which prohibits wagering in connection with NBA games.

As alleged in the complaint, Pham and his co-conspirators placed “under prop” bets on Player 1’s performance in two NBA games, knowing in advance that Player 1 planned to withdraw from those games for purported health reasons. A “prop,” or proposition bet is a wager placed on a player’s performance, rather than the outcome of the game. For example, a betting platform could offer users a wager that a player would score more (referred to as betting the “over”) or fewer (betting the “under”) points than a certain number of points designated by the betting platform for a given game.

The January 26, 2024 Game

In early 2024, Player 1 had amassed large gambling debts to certain of the co-conspirators. Player 1 was encouraged to clear those debts by withdrawing from certain games prematurely to ensure that under prop bets on Player 1’s performance were successful. On January 22, 2024, Player 1 sustained a purported eye injury during a game. He was evaluated and diagnosed with a corneal abrasion, but was not placed on the NBA injury list. Shortly before the game on January 26, 2024 (the January 26 Game) Player 1 told the defendant that he would be removing himself early from the game, claiming that he was injured. Player 1 entered the January 26 Game midway through the first quarter. After playing just four minutes and recording zero points, three rebounds and one assist, Player 1 removed himself from the game after he complained to team officials that he had reaggravated the eye injury.

Player 1’s performance in several statistical categories during the January 26 Game was under the designated amounts set by Betting Company 1 in its prop bets related to Player 1. Thus, several bettors, including co-conspirators, who wagered the “under” on prop bets related to Player 1’s performance for the January 26 Game won those bets.
For example, a relative of a co-conspirator placed a $10,000 parlay bet through Betting Company 1 on the “under” for Player 1’s three pointers, assists and steals. As a result of Player 1 removing himself from the January 26 game, the bet was successful and the relative won $85,000 (netting a profit of $75,000). Additionally, a co-conspirator placed a $7,000 parlay bet through Betting Company 1 on the “under” for Player 1’s three pointers, points, assists and rebounds. As a result of Player 1 removing himself from the January 26 Game, the bet was successful and the co-conspirator won $40,250 (netting a profit of $33,250).

The March 20, 2024 Game

Prior to a game on March 20, 2024 (the March 20 Game), Pham and his co-conspirators discussed in a Telegram group chat that Player 1 would be removing himself early from the game, claiming that he felt ill. They agreed to share the profits for money won on successful under bets placed on Player 1, and that Pham would receive approximately 24% of the profits. On March 20, 2024, Pham and his co-conspirators met at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and placed several bets on Player 1. After playing just three minutes and recording zero points, three rebounds and zero assists, Player 1 removed himself from the March 20 Game, complaining he felt ill. Several bettors, including the co-conspirators, who wagered the under on prop bets related to Player 1’s performance won those bets. In total, the defendant and his co-conspirators netted over $1 million in profits.

On April 4, 2024, in a group chat between Player 1 and the conspirators, Player 1 wrote to the group that they “might just get hit w a rico,” referring to a racketeering charge, and asked if the group chat participants had “delete[d] all the stuff” from their personal cell phones.

The charge in the complaint is based on allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of wire fraud, the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section and General Crimes Sections. Assistant United States Attorneys Kaitlin Farrell, Benjamin L. Weintraub and David Berman are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:
LONG PHI PHAM (also known as “Bruce”)
Age: 38
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 24-MJ-404


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated June 5, 2024

Complaint [PDF, ]
Financial Fraud