Billy Walters sentenced: Phil Mickelson friend gets 5 years, $10M fine for insider trading

Billy Walters

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 legendary sports gambler who mastered playing the odds, refused to play by the rules. As the evidence at trial revealed and as a unanimous jury found, Walters cheated his way to tens of millions in illegal profits, making massive, perfectly timed trades in Dean Foods based on confidential information stolen directly from the boardroom,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim of New York said in a statement.

Walters was convicted in April of insider trading charges. Prosecutors said the 71-year-old gambling legend earned more than $40 million from 2008 to 2015 by using inside information obtained from Thomas Davis, Dean Foods’ former board chairman.

"Billy Walters is a cheater and a criminal, and not a very clever one," U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel said at Walters' sentencing hearing, according to Reuters. "At this point in life, money was a way of keeping score."

Mickelson, a 47-year-old golfer and three-time major champion, earned nearly $1 million after acting on a stock tip from Walters in 2012, the Associated Press reported. He reportedly used the money to repay Walters for gambling debts.

While Mickelson was listed as a potential witness at Walters’ trial, he was never called to testify, and was not charged with a crime. Mickelson repaid the money that prosecutors said he earned from the insider tips.

Walters reportedly plans to appeal the sentence.