Phil Mickelson's gambler pal convicted: 'I'm in total shock'

William

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.

"Billy Walters lost his bet that he could cheat the securities markets on a massive scale and get away with it scot-free", said Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.

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

Attorney Barry Berke said Thursday that William "Billy" Walters should be acquitted because he never cheated when he traded the stock of the Dallas-based Dean Foods Co.

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.

Walters was charged after a high-profile probe focused on what prosecutors called his long-running scheme to obtain confidential tips about Dean Foods Co from its chairman, Thomas Davis. But the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Mickelson in a civil lawsuit of making almost $1 million in the stock trade.

Flood warning issued for Tiffin River near Stryker
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The verdict capped a three-week trial.

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

He hasn't been sentenced yet, but Walters could face prison time for his crimes. His lawyer said the verdict will be appealed.

During the trial, Berke used Mickelson as proof that his client was innocent, saying that if Walters had inside information, "the last thing you would do is give it to Phil Mickelson, one of the most famous athletes in the world who is going to attract regulatory scrutiny". Unless he's successful, Walters will be forced to walk away from Las Vegas businesses that include golf courses, auto dealerships and car-rental agencies, with total revenue of $500 million in 2013, according to testimony from his company's controller.

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

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