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He scoffed, though, at the notion of Walters passing along inside information to his celebrated, now ex-friend. Mickelson's gambling past has been well-documented. For example, in , Outside the Lines reported Mickelson's connection to an illegal offshore gambling operation. Gregory Silveira, a California-based agent for the offshore site, subsequently pleaded guilty to money laundering charges and remains incarcerated at a federal prison camp in Arizona.
Mickelson's camp describes him as a victim in the Walters insider trading case, though his personal attorney, Cohen, declined to say why. Phone calls were not returned by Washington, D. In Walters' mind, Mickelson held the key to his freedom, if he had just explained to jurors what had really happened. Essentially denying he got any tips. He had denied that to the government. In my judgment, it would have helped us.
I can't say, 'Oh, that means we absolutely win or anything, but it would have made someone else's credibility an issue. And it just adds up. Walters' lawyers are expected to present oral arguments as early as May before a three-judge panel representing the U. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, seeking to overturn his conviction -- or, at the very least, allow for a new trial. The appeal alleges government misconduct, arguing that the trial judge did not allow an evidentiary hearing and that the key witness, Davis, perjured himself at trial, and the government knew it.
A decision is possible before the end of the year. Davis initially told investigators that he and Walters did nothing wrong, but after cutting a deal for a reduced prison sentence, Davis told a different story in court. He told of having provided Walters non-public information about Dean Foods over a lengthy period of time.
He told of passing along such information as earnings projections, operating plans and specific company transactions. As he became more indebted, Davis added: "[Walters] became more demanding of information. As part of his deal with the government, Davis pleaded guilty to 12 criminal counts, including securities and wire fraud, obstruction of justice and perjury.
With Davis facing at least 10 years under federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutors recommended he not be imprisoned due to his cooperation, but the presiding judge sentenced the government's star witness to two years in prison, labeling Davis "a phony, fraud and a crook. Davis helped the government finally get its man after decades of trying, yet not without a government black eye suffered by the FBI and Justice Department, both of whom have taken reputational hits of late.
Federal documents show the case against Walters, which at the time focused on billionaire investor Carl Icahn and well-timed trading in Clorox stock, was dormant in when the lead FBI agent who had investigated the matter began leaking secret grand jury information to New York Times and Wall Street Journal reporters.
It was Walters' attorneys who raised the specter of the government leaking grand jury materials to the media, alleging the leaks were orchestrated to bring exposure to a case going nowhere. Details from the illegal leaks were published the year before Walters' grand jury indictment and included specifics on trades being examined and records being analyzed, the identity of those approached by the FBI as well as supposed targets of investigation.
Former U. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, initially denied the leaks ever took place, dismissing the allegation to the judge as "baseless. At the time, Walters' attorneys argued unsuccessfully to have the case thrown out. The government's leaking of information and subsequent reaction to it remains a significant part of Walters' appeal. Bharara did not respond to messages left for him with the NYU School of Law, where he's currently an adjunct professor.
Chaves' attorney, Sean P. Casey, declined comment. From the start, Walters and his camp butted heads with the government over what they perceived as grandstanding by Bharara, who declined Walters' offer to self-surrender when it became clear he was going to be charged with insider trading.
Instead, a security staffer rushed into Walters' office late one morning in the spring of , telling Walters about two armed, plainclothes law enforcement-types lurking about the Bali Hai clubhouse. Walters later strode into the clubhouse restaurant for lunch and eyed a woman, whom he perceived to be a federal agent, with a holstered gun. He alerted his attorney. Walters has been trying to surrender himself for two months.
You have people surveilling his business. Can he surrender himself? They were running surveillance, and they were going to arrest me the following morning, real early. So, when he called them, they panicked, and they came down, and they arrested me. Marriott in Summerlin, a casino-resort on the western outskirts of Las Vegas. He was arraigned the next day, though not before Bharara -- once dubbed the "Sheriff of Wall Street" -- held a media conference in New York.
Supreme Court contemplates making his livelihood legal in the United States -- something once unthinkable. From prison, Walters responded favorably to the possibility of legalization while emphasizing the need for uniform and proper regulation by individual states that get into the game.
Based on personal experience, he said that state regulations should ensure customers will be treated equally -- sportsbooks should not be allowed to close the accounts or dramatically reduce the betting limits of successful players, as occurred with Walters in Las Vegas. Walters wrote, through his attorney: "There are a number of benefits -- jobs, taxes, allowing Americans to engage in an activity that is already taking place legally [in Nevada and offshore sites].
License the people involved to keep out the criminal element. In a ESPN The Magazine profile, Walters voiced frustration over what he said were draconian laws that drive a massive market of betting dollars to poorly regulated offshore locales. If you were to take away the office pools, fantasy pools, people betting on sports, I guarantee the [TV] viewership would be cut in less than half.
Attorney Richard Wright said his client, Walters, had to set up an elaborate business to bet domestically and internationally. And in order to operate in the rest of the world, he had to go completely to [Panama]. It was just like he was in Nevada and then he moved out to Panama and did the same thing from Panama, where he could bet in England, Australia, Ireland, everywhere. Under a legalized system in the United States, his attorney said, Walters could have operated his gambling business far more cheaply and put his employees to work domestically.
And Walters suggests with a potentially larger gambling market, he could wager greater sums and win even more money. He could understand the government probing complicated, multimillion-dollar transactions, but not uncovering anything approaching a crime, in his mind. So, he didn't see the verdict coming. He hadn't prepared his family. He hadn't prepared his employees. He was flu-ridden when he was convicted on all 10 counts last April, after four hours of jury deliberation.
He headed to a home in California a beaten man. I'd been going to court every day, getting up early, staying late, and going through quite a bit of tension. I was in my office, in a recliner. I think for two days it was almost like those two days didn't happen. And then after that, I snapped out of it and realized what it was. I had to get up and go to fighting. I have a new hand. I have to take the set of facts and the circumstances I have today. I got to look at the potential outcomes of it.
And I have to be realistic with it. That is what my life is going to be. It is just that simple. Because of my son and my interaction with the handicapped and mentally challenged people, I think I have a pretty good handle on things as far as perspective is concerned. I go over to Opportunity Village [Walters is a major benefactor of the Las Vegas-based nonprofit serving adults with intellectual disabilities] and see people there who through no fault of their own have been dealt the rottenness hand in life.
They come over there every day. They work. They make no excuses. You ask them how they are doing, and I never heard a negative word out of one of them in 25 years. It is not a good situation. It is clearly something I never dreamed would happen. And what has happened and the way it happened is as bad as it gets, but I do have a perspective.
This will end. I don't know when it will end, but it will end. My life will go on. And I don't have anything I can't recover from. So, from that point -- I been married 41 years. I got a great wife. In my trial, there were way over people that sent letters in. So, we have a lot of friends. Frankly, I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate men in the world.
I really do. Like I said, I got things in perspective. Skip to navigation. Billy Walters reflects on his conviction, gambling -- and ex-friend Phil Mickelson. The Computer Group, formed in Las Vegas in , was one of the best-known early statistical analysis companies to address the potential of marrying computers to sports betting. And it worked pretty well. Including the few years before The Computer Group helped cultivate his general approach, Billy Walters rode this burgeoning statistical approach to a year winning streak.
Almost immediately, Walters was disallowed entrance to and action in those casinos, meaning that his days of betting in person and by name came to an end. Billy Walters was a household name on the Las Vegas Strip, and that name was toxic.
In order to continue making his living, Walters started placing bets through his employees and associates. These bettors would remain on site at various casinos and wait to receive phone calls from Walters, informing them where and when and how much to wager.
Good work if you can get it. As arguably one of the most successful famous sports bettors of all time, Billy Walters has an extensive but mostly hidden portfolio of big wins. Not really. That million bucks he won on a round of golf? He lost it all before bedtime at the blackjack table. No big winner ever sustains any long-term success without also being a big loser here and there. The true genius of Waters, though, was that he often lost significant sums of money on purpose. Then, Walters would simply bet even more money on the favorite to cover.
Indeed, Walters quickly discovered that this idea works especially well with lesser-known, second- and third-tier college football teams, where spreads are usually much larger and quite a bit easier to manipulate with a comparative modicum of money. Walters reportedly benefited from non-public information on Dean Foods Co. Walters maintains his innocence in the case, claiming confidence in his legal defense. Billy Walters always moves on to the next big bet:. You can watch the 60 minutes interview with Billy Walters on youtube here.
Sentenced to five years, after serving only three years, Walters was released from prison in April of Assuming for good behavior and other things, there is no specific reason that Walters got released early. The pandemic is a huge thing right now as well and could have played a part in his release as well. Betting on sports was a huge passion for Walters and even with having to pay for all of his legal fees and other activity, he should be fine when it comes to financial security.
Billy Walters was released from prison earlier than expected but needs to finish out the rest of his original sentence from his California home.
The Dodgers won, and Billy lost all his hard-earned newspaper cash. Neither did his losing his home in bad bets some 15 times over the course of his young adulthood. It caused a divorce or two, but it never caused him to divorce himself from his true love: the thrill of gambling and sports betting. Meanwhile, Walters continued to make ends meet by working at a used car dealership. Naturally, he was also running an illegal bookmaking service out of the back.
Las Vegas turned out to be a perfect fit for Billy Walters. While it brought its share of headaches re wiseguys and feds, Las Vegas also allowed Walters to finally establish himself as a gambling powerhouse. He started his own betting network, and he gradually grew his business into a multi-million-dollar annual earner. His methods remain closely guarded, but it is public knowledge that Walters was one of the first professional sports bettors to use advanced computer analysis and modeling to help identify trends and predict future athletic outcomes.
The Computer Group, formed in Las Vegas in , was one of the best-known early statistical analysis companies to address the potential of marrying computers to sports betting. And it worked pretty well. Including the few years before The Computer Group helped cultivate his general approach, Billy Walters rode this burgeoning statistical approach to a year winning streak.
Almost immediately, Walters was disallowed entrance to and action in those casinos, meaning that his days of betting in person and by name came to an end. Billy Walters was a household name on the Las Vegas Strip, and that name was toxic. In order to continue making his living, Walters started placing bets through his employees and associates. These bettors would remain on site at various casinos and wait to receive phone calls from Walters, informing them where and when and how much to wager.
Good work if you can get it. As arguably one of the most successful famous sports bettors of all time, Billy Walters has an extensive but mostly hidden portfolio of big wins. Not really. That million bucks he won on a round of golf? He lost it all before bedtime at the blackjack table. No big winner ever sustains any long-term success without also being a big loser here and there.
The true genius of Waters, though, was that he often lost significant sums of money on purpose. Then, Walters would simply bet even more money on the favorite to cover. Indeed, Walters quickly discovered that this idea works especially well with lesser-known, second- and third-tier college football teams, where spreads are usually much larger and quite a bit easier to manipulate with a comparative modicum of money.
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