High-roller Billy Walters convicted on insider trading charges

William

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.

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

Walters was placed under house arrest until his sentencing, which is scheduled for July 14. "As a unanimous jury swiftly found, Walters received inside information about Dean Foods for years - directly from one of its board members - and illegally traded on it, netting over $43 million".

Prosecutors said Walters at one point made a recommendation to Mickelson that the golfer, who at the time owed him a gambling debt, buy Dean Foods stock. 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.

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In an agreement with the Security and Exchange Commission, Mickelson agreed to repay the trading profits.

The case is U.S. v. Walters, 16-cr-00338, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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

She said Mickelson bought Dean Foods stock for the first time after Walters "told Mickelson that the trade was a victor".

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Mickelson never was charged because prosecutors couldn't prove he knew that Walters was passing along inside information, but he repaid almost $1 million in profits on Dean Foods trading.

Mickelson was not charged criminally.

In her closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Brooke Cucinella called Davis the gambler's "man on the inside" and argued that Walters's use of disposable phones was proof he was aware he was breaking the law. Berke said he routinely makes multimillion-dollar bets on companies in the stock market. He has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges and is likely to receive leniency at sentencing as a result of his testimony.

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