Billy Walters, perhaps the most successful professional sports gambler in the U.S., is out of a federal prison in Pensacola, Florida, and will finish the rest of his five-year sentence under home confinement in Carlsbad, California.
Walters got five years in prison and was ordered to pay a $10 million fine after being convicted of insider trading in 2017.
He is out of prison, according to a Casino.org report, because at 73, Walters is vulnerable to COVID-19, which is surging in prisons across the U.S. His original release date was Feb. 14, 2022. His sentence will now end Jan. 22, 2022.
Walters, whose personal fortune is reportedly $500 million and included ownership golf courses and auto delearships, was profiled by 60 Minutes in 2011, where the headline was that he had never had a losing year betting on sports.
Walters was also linked to Phil Mickelson.
A 2017 New York Post report said that Mickelson paid $1.95 million to Walters to settle gambling debts, information that emerged in federal court as part of Walters’ insider trading trial.
Walters was accused of making $43 million using insider trading tips, allegedly received those tips from Tom C. Davis, then the chairman of Dean Foods Co.
Mickelson, a golfing buddy of Walters, was reportedly passed inside information by Walters and earned $931,000 as a result. Mickelson was not called to testify, paid the money back to settle a lawsuit and did not face criminal charges.
Mickelson reportedly told the FBI he had no knowledge of insider trading involving Walters but also didn’t go to court to help Walters.
Walters let loose on Mickelson in a 2018 interview with ESPN.
“Here is a guy that all he had to do was come forward and tell the truth,” Walters said in October, as he leaned forward in a chair behind his nearly 10-foot-wide office desk, its marble top home to three computer monitors. “That was all he had to do. The guy wouldn’t do that because he was concerned about his image. He was concerned about his endorsements.
“My God, in the meantime a man’s life is on the line. He’s going to go to prison. And you got prosecutors up there during the entire trial, the entire month — all they talked about over and over was me giving my friends insider information. That is all they talked about. And they knew those jurors were all up on the internet reading that stuff about Phil [profiting from the Dean Foods stock purchase].”
Still to be decided, according to the Casino.org report, is the $25.4 million fine imposed on Walters. That’s the amount prosecutors say he made on the alleged insider trading.
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