After a four-week trail in New York, Las Vegas sports gambler William “Billy” Walters was convicted of earning $40 million illegally in an insider trading scheme.
A jury found Walters, known as the “most dangerous sports bettor in Nevada,” guilty on ten counts of fraud and conspiracy. The maximum sentence for the most serious charge is 20 years. His lawyers say he plans to appeal.
“I just did lose the biggest bet of my life. Frankly I’m in shock,” Walters said as he left the court.
The trial featured high-profile names like golfer Phil Mickelson and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, and claimed that Walters shared stock tips with Mickelson and used charity money for prostitutes.
Last year, Mickelson had to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $1 million in fines for profiting off a stock tip from Walters about Dean Foods. Icahn was questioned about Walters’ profit from selling shares of Clorox around the time Icahn announced his interest in buying the company, but neither Mickelson nor Icahn faced criminal charges.
“Today, Billy Walters lost his bet that he could cheat the securities markets on a massive scale and get away with it scot-free,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said Friday.
Walters, 70, was part of what became known as “The Computer Group” in the 1980s. In a profile for “60 Minutes,” the gambler explained how the group used special analytics systems to run massive amounts of data through computers and come up with a result that gave some sports games a statistical betting advantage.
Sentencing is set for July 14th and Walters has been placed on house arrest in the meantime.
Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Flickr.
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