dglobalnews.com Phil Mickelson's gambler pal convicted: 'I'm in total shock'
Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Markets | By Armando Jensen

Phil Mickelson's gambler pal convicted: 'I'm in total shock'

Phil Mickelson's gambler pal convicted: 'I'm in total shock'

Read 'em and weep, a NY federal jury told professional gambler Billy Walters on Friday after the six-woman, six-man panel convicted him of securities fraud, wire fraud and related conspiracies.

Billy Walters, 70, was found guilty on all 10 charges in NY, a verdict announced in the second day of deliberations. Sentencing was set for July.

Jurors found Walters earned some $43 million over six years based on illegal tips from his golfing pal Tom C. Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods Co.

Davis, who testified against Walters as part of a plea deal, told jurors he passed tips ahead of Dean Foods' earnings reports and a 2012 spinoff of part of its business, using "burner" phones.

In 2016, Mickelson reached an agreement to pay back $1.03 million that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said he made by trading in Dean Foods stock.

The case is U.S. v. Davis et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-cr-00338.

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Closing arguments over two days capped a three-week trial and enabled jurors to begin deliberations in late afternoon.

Douglas Berman, a professor of law at Ohio State University, said Walters, given the amount of money involved, is looking at a sentencing guideline range of upwards of 10 years in prison.

Mickelson was not charged criminally. Davis, who pleaded guilty to perjury and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution as its star witness, testified during the trial that he became a "virtual conduit of nonpublic information" to Walters after he took $1 million from the gambler to cover betting debts and the expenses from a divorce.

During the trial, Berke used Mickelson as proof that his client was innocent, saying that if Walters had inside information, "the last thing you would do is give it to Phil Mickelson, one of the most famous athletes in the world who is going to attract regulatory scrutiny". Berke said he routinely makes multimillion-dollar bets on companies in the stock market.

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