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.
Walters, 70, a renowned professional gambler from Las Vegas and one-time world poker champion, was found guilty of 10 counts of conspiracy, wire and securities fraud on only the second day of deliberations.
"Today, Billy Walters lost his bet that he could cheat the securities markets and get away with it scot-free", acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement. "Frankly, I am in total shock".
A prosecutor had said Mickelson earned almost $1 million after Walters told him to buy Dean Foods Co. stock in 2012.
Mickelson, who has won three Masters golf titles, was not accused of wrongdoing and did not testify at trial.
Prosecutors described an old-fashioned insider-trading scheme: Davis would tip Walters, Walters would trade on it, and Davis would either make a profit or avoid a loss.
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Walters' lawyer, Berry Burke, said the verdict will be appealed.
Prosecutors said Walters made over $40 million illegally from 2008 to 2015 trading on the stock of Dean Foods Co.
A defense lawyer was scheduled to deliver a closing argument Thursday.
Davis, Walters's friend, business partner and golfing pal of more than 20 years, was the government's star witness. Davis pleaded guilty to federal charges and is cooperating in the hopes he'll be sentenced leniently.
When asked what evidence convinced them Walters was guilty, one member of the jury, just before getting on an elevator, said, "Everything that was in front of us".
Federal investigators also questioned activist investor Carl Icahn regarding the matter, probing whether Mickelson and Walters made money selling shares of Clorox around the time that Icahn announced his interest in buying the company.
Walters commented on the verdict outside court. Mickelson agreed to repay it.
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