Professional gambler Billy Walters came up on the short end of an insider trading scheme that involved golfer Phil Mickelson when a Manhattan federal judge sentenced him to 5 years in prison on Thursday.
“Billy Walters is a cheater and a criminal and not a very clever one,” said U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who also imposed a $10 million fine on Walters for masterminding a scheme in which the judge said profits and avoided losses exceeded $25 million.
Walters, 71, a multimillionaire sports gambler and cardplayer from Las Vegas who owns a string of golf courses and car dealerships, was convicted in April of trading for years on tips from former Dean Foods chairman Thomas Davis.
Mickelson, a friend of Walters, was never charged, but repaid nearly $1 million he made trading on Dean Foods on the advice of Walters, whose defense at trial was that he was a brilliant investor who had used his intuitive gambling genius to make money on the stock market.
The judge alluded to Mickelson when imposing sentence, saying that Walters’ trading tips enabled a friend to pay off a debt owed to Walters. Mickelson owed Walters money.
Walters’ defense lawyer Barry Berke,…
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