Feds: Mickelson used insider stock tip to pay off gambling debts

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The name of acclaimed pro golfer Phil Mickelson surfaced in an insider trading case filed Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the feds accused Mickelson of using a insider stock tip from a bookie to make almost a million dollars, then using the money to pay off his gambling debts.

Mickelson was named as a “relief defendant” in the case, which means he was not formally charged with any wrongdoing – though the details seem certain to raise questions about his gambling habits and more.

Soon after the charges were announced, Mickelson agreed to repay the money that he had made through his stock transactions.

The feds say that Mickelson received a stock tip from a sports bettor named Billy Walters, at a time when Mickelson owed him an unspecified gambling debt.

Walters had ties to Thomas Davis, a director of the Dean Foods Company, and passed on insider information about Dean Foods.

Mickelson swiftly purchased $2.4 million in Dean Foods stock; it went up the next week, allowing him to net a profit of $931,000.

“Walters’s tip to Mickelson was of value to Walters,” the feds alleged in the complaint. “Mickelson had placed bets with Walters prior to the tip, and Mickelson owed Walters money at the time of the Dean Foods trading.”

The complaint says soon after, Mickelson paid off his gambling debts to Walters, “in part with the proceeds of his trading.”

You can read the full complaint here.

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