Las Vegas sports gambler Walters convicted of insider trading

Las Vegas sports gambler Walters convicted of insider trading

Famed Las Vegas sports gambler William "Billy" Walters was convicted on Friday of insider trading charges in a scheme that prosecutors said enabled him to make more than $40 million and involved a stock tip to star professional golfer Phil Mickelson.

William "Billy" Walters, right, leaves Manhattan federal court in NY, with his attorney, Barry Berke, Friday, April 7, 2017, after he was convicted of insider trading charges.

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

Walters claimed he made millions in trading on Dean Foods and other stock because of the same intuitive genius and careful research that made him a successful gambler, but prosecutors relied on a former Dean Foods chairman who testified that he gave Walters inside tips.

In addition to tips that made Walters money, the gambler was warned ahead of news that caused Dean Foods shares to drop 30 percent drop in one day.

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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.

As the verdict was returned on 10 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud, Walters shook his head repeatedly.

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

The verdict capped a three-week trial.

Barry Berke, Walters' lawyer, said his client would appeal. Mickelson was not charged.

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

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.

Davis testified under a cooperation deal that he met Walters while golfing.

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