Gambler tied to Phil Mickelson convicted of insider trading

Gambler tied to Phil Mickelson convicted of insider trading

A lawyer for a Las Vegas gambler linked to golfer Phil Mickelson has urged jurors at a NY trial to acquit his client of insider trading charges, saying the prosecution hangs on the lies of a witness.

"If I would have made a bet, I would have lost - I just did lose the biggest bet of my life", Billy Walters, right, said outside court after his guilty verdicts.

Walters, 70, faced a four-week trial in Manhattan before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Walters was convicted of earning over $40 million illegally.

Mickelson agreed to forfeit almost $1 million last May that authorities said he earned through an illegal stock tip from Walters.

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According to court documents, Mickelson used three brokerage accounts to purchase 200,240 shares (totaling $2.4 million) in Dean Foods stock between July 30-31 of that year.

Walters was charged in May after a high-profile probe focused on what prosecutors called his scheme to obtain confidential tips about Dean Foods Co from its chairman, Thomas Davis.

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.

His lawyer, Barry Berke, promised an appeal. Bloomberg News reported the ruling in the case that involved Phil Mickelson as a "relief defendant", although the five-time major champ never made an appearance in court.

A defense lawyer was scheduled to deliver a closing argument Thursday.

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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".

Walters, 70, has built a sprawling business of auto dealerships, vehicle rental agencies and golf courses worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Davis, Walters's friend, business partner and golfing pal of more than 20 years, was the government's star witness.

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