Billy Walters made a fortune wagering on sports.
A lawyer for a Las Vegas gambler linked to golfer Phil Mickelson has urged jurors at a NY trial to acquit his client of insider trading charges, saying the prosecution hangs on the lies of a witness.
Over the course of the four-week trial, prosecutors argued that Walters earned $43 million on more than 100 trades over six years based on insider tips from Tom C. Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods Co.
Berke said he would leave no doubt among jurors that Davis had lied repeatedly. They also called witnesses who portrayed their client as someone with a gift for predicting the stock market thanks to meticulous research, much like how he claimed to have won millions in Las Vegas casinos.
"I just lost the biggest bet of my life, " Walters said outside Manhattan federal court minutes after the jury returned its verdict.
He praised his client, saying the Kentucky-born sports gambler had built a sprawling business of auto dealerships, vehicle rental agencies and golf courses worth hundreds of millions of dollars and routinely made multimillion-dollar bets in the stock market. "Frankly I'm in total shock".
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"To say I was surprised would be the biggest understatement of my life". He has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges and is likely to receive leniency at sentencing as a result of his testimony.
Closing arguments capped a three-week trial.
Asked what evidence led to the guilty verdict, one juror replied, "Everything that was in front of us".
Davis said he fed secrets about Dean Foods to Walters so that he could make profitable trades and that he hoped to get some tips about business and gambling in return.
William "Billy" Walters leaves Manhattan federal court in New York, Friday, April 7, 2017, after he was convicted of insider trading charges.
In 2016, Mickelson reached an agreement to pay back $1.03 million that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said he made by trading in Dean Foods stock.