Economy

Gambler Billy Walters sentenced to 5 years in insider-trading scheme

Gambler Billy Walters sentenced to 5 years in insider-trading scheme”

Billy Walters, the famed sports gambler and associate of golfer Phil Mickelson, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10 million on Thursday for his role in an insider trading scheme.

Billy Walters, a professional sports gambler who travels the country in a private jet, was given the harsh sentence by Manhattan federal judge Kevin Castel, who said Walters, a successful gambler and business owner, was "fixated on appearing to himself and others as a victor".

Professional sports gambler Bill Walters, center, departs Federal Court with his lawyer Barry Berke after a hearing in NY, U.S., June 1, 2016. The gambler also left a paper trail that made his conviction inevitable. "The crime was amateurishly simple".

Jurors on April 7 convicted Walters on 10 fraud and conspiracy counts, after less than a day of deliberations and a four-week trial.

The 71-year-old owner of auto dealerships, vehicle rental agencies and golf courses was convicted in April in Manhattan federal court of making more than 40 million USA dollars illegally trading the stock of Dallas-based Dean Foods.

Prosecutors said Davis would often use prepaid cellphones to provide tips, including one nicknamed the "Batphone", and would often speak in code with Walters, as when Walters asked that he refer to Dallas-based Dean Foods as the "Dallas Cowboys".

More than 100 friends and supporters wrote letters seeking leniency for Walters, including tennis great Andre Agassi, ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and professional golfers including Jim Colbert and Peter Jacobsen. "There were always hard luck stories from people in Vegas and Bill could never say no". "I do not see see how this man getting probation would, in any way, adversely affect the criminal justice system", he wrote.

"His conduct in this case was egregious", she said. Davis pleaded guilty in May of previous year to insider trading and other charges and was the government's star witness during Walters' trial.

Federal prosecutor Brooke Cucinella countered that while the government was "incredibly sympathetic" toward Walters' family, the defendant's greed justified a stiff punishment.

Davis, Walters's friend for more than 20 years, was the government's star witness. At the urging of Walters, Mickelson began to trade in Dean Foods stock, and made more than $931,000 in profits after buying and selling holdings between July and August 2012.



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