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

Posted April 08, 2017

A federal jury in NY found sports gambler Billy Walters guilty on 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy Friday in an insider-trading case that featured testimony about the betting habits of PGA Tour standout Phil Mickelson. In the second day of deliberations today, the jury returned a guilty verdict against the Las Vegas resident on all 10 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud charges.

"If I would have made a bet I would have lost", Walters, 70, told reporters as he left court, per Bloomberg. "If I had made a bet I would have lost - I just did lose the biggest bet of my life. I'm in total shock".

Walters made headlines a year ago when famed golfer Phil Mickelson - who's now competing in The Masters in Georgia - was ordered to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $1 million in fines for profiting off a tip from Walters about Dean Foods. Mickelson never testified though he had been on a list of prospective witnesses. Walters is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14. Thomas Davis, a former Dean Foods board chairman, testified that he fed Walters tips about major developments involving the company before they became known publicly.

Barry Berke, Walters's lawyer, said he will appeal.

Walters, 70, has built a sprawling business of auto dealerships, vehicle rental agencies and golf courses worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Davis pleaded guilty to federal charges and is cooperating in the hopes he'll be sentenced leniently.

Walters's lawyers, in turn, alleged that Davis repeatedly lied on the stand to save his own skin.

Asked what evidence led to the guilty verdict, one juror replied, "Everything that was in front of us". The testimony featured golfer Phil Mickelson and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, as well as a seamy world of gambling debts, stock tips delivered on burner phones and charity money used for prostitutes.

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