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Phil Mickelson’s ex-pal wins early prison release, report says

Professional gambler Billy Walters is serving 5 years on an insider-trading conviction in an incident in which Mickelson was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing and maintains his innocence

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson

Reported: By KLAS-TV’s George Knapp in Las Vegas, that professional gambler Billy Walters will be released early from prison at the end of this week. Knapp cited two sources close to the legendary Las Vegas gambler, a former friend and gambling associate of golfer Phil Mickelson. Walters, 73, was convicted of insider trading in 2017 in a case involving the use of non-public information for the sale of Dean Foods Co. stock. Mickelson was questioned by investigators regarding his involvement with Walters but ultimately was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Walters was given a five-year sentence and $10 million fine. In 2018, Walters told ESPN that Mickelson could have cleared him. “Here is a guy [Mickelson] that all he had to do was come forward and tell the truth,” Walters told ESPN. "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." Prosecutors said that Walters encouraged friends, including Mickelson, to buy stock in Dean Foods in 2012, based on insider information that Walters had obtained illegally. Mickelson sold his shares for $931,000 in profit, prosecutors said, and then reportedly paid $1.95 million to Walters to cover a gambling debt. Mickelson paid back the gains and maintained his innocence. Walters had been scheduled for release Feb. 14, 2022. It was unknown whether recent early prison releases because of coronavirus concerns had any effect on Walters’ sentence.

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