Las Vegas Sports Gambler Charged with Insider Trading Is Associates with Golfer Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson, the 5-time major winner on the PGA Tour, agreed to pay back nearly $1 million in profits from an insider trading deal. Mickelson is seen by federal authorities as having profited from insider trading, though he is not accused of any wrongdoing himself. The place is a part of his associations with William T. Walters, a Las Vegas high roller who is considered the most successful sports bettor in the United States.
Phil Mickelson is not the only prominent person with ties to William Walters. So is Thomas C. Davis, a former investment banker and Harvard Business graduate who lived a country club lifestyle prior to the current trading scandal. Like Mickelson, Thomas C. Davis is tied to William T. Walters through gambling debts.
William T. Walters Arrested on Wednesday
Both are embroiled in a set of criminal charges against William Walters which were unsealed by federal prosecutors on Thursday in Manhaattan. The indictment charges Thomas C. Davis gave Mr. Walters $40 million in illegal trading tips, an amount combining both straight profits and avoided losses.
Thomas C. Davis has pleaded guilty to lesser charges and is now cooperating with federal authorities against William Walters. Though Mickelson is not charged with any crimes, he was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with being “unjustly enriched”. The SEC wants Mickelson to divest himself of his “ill-gotten gains”.
Mickelson’s Role in the Scandal
Mickelson’s lawyer said that the pro golfer had returned the $900 thousand-plus in the insider trading, saying Mickelson, “takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation.”
In the same deal, William Walters collected about $17 million. Whatever Phil Mickelson’s role in the scandal — and whatever attention his celebrity status brings to the case — his role pales in comparison to that of Thomas C. Davis.
Thomas C. Davis’s Role
Apparently, Davis’s debts to the sports bettor were far larger. That provided the motivation for a crime of $40 million, it would seem. Thomas C. Davis retired from the Boston-area financial institution, Credit Suisse First Boston, way back in 2001. When he retired, Davis did not end his free-spending ways. Fifteen years of mismanagement of his personal finances had left him in such financial trouble that he is thought to have taken funds from a charity he ran.
William T. Walter loaned the former investment banker money. Starting in 2008 (and perhaps earlier), Thomas Davis repaid the favor by offer the sports bettor investment tips, at a time when the retired investment banker was a chairman for Dean Foods.
Secret Code Words for Investments
The two men developed a secret code to discuss their insider trading. They used disposable cellphones for calls involving the trading. Dean Foods was referred to as “The Dallas Cowboys”.
Andrew J. Ceresny, a SEC investigator, said, “Davis breached his duty and broke the law as the result of being in dire financial straits.”
Ceresny went on to say that William T. Walter, known for his brilliance as a sports gambler, was in this case “gambling on a sure thing.”
How Insider Trading Works
Unfortunately for Mr. Walter, gambling on a sure thing in the investment business is a crime. He was arrested in Las Vegas late on Wednesday night. The insider trading case is one of the first major arrests since the 2014 cases of Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, whose indictments were overturned by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014.
At the time, US Attorney Preet Bharara predicted the appellate decision would have a chilling effect on future insider trading cases. Bharara called the decision “a potential bonanza for friends and family of rich people.”
Harder to Prosecute Insider Trading Now
Thus, William T. Walter and other insider traders have a better chance than they did in the past to beat the charges. In unsealing the indictment, Preet Bharara said the appellate decision would not stop prosecutions in certain cases like these.
He said, “Brazen insider trading continues to be a blot in our securities markets, and so the integrity of our markets continues to be a priority for this office.“
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