U.S. authorities announce insider trading charges against a professional Las Vegas gambler, and a former company chairman, also saying pro golfer Phil Michelson benefitted from their scheme. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (no reporter narration) STORY: U.S. authorities on Thursday charged a former chairman of Dean Foods Co and a professional Las Vegas gambler with engaging in a years-long insider trading scheme, which included a tip that benefited professional golfer Phil Mickelson. William "Billy" Walters, who has built a multimillion-dollar fortune as a famed Las Vegas sports bettor, and Thomas Davis, Dean Food's former chairman, were criminally charged in a case brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Mickelson, who has won three Masters golf titles, was not criminally charged, but was named as a relief defendant in a civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which said he also traded in Dean Foods stock. A relief defendant is not accused of wrongdoing but has received ill-gotten gains as a result of others' illegal acts. The lawsuit said that at a time when Mickelson owed Walters money after placing bets with him, Walters, aware of a Dean Foods corporate spin-off, urged him to trade in the company's stock, enabling the golfer to earn $931,000. The charges were announced by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, marking the most significant case his office has pursued since a 2014 appellate ruling limited the scope of insider trading laws. The ruling in particular limited authorities' ability to pursue charges against a defendant who heard a stock tip second- or third-hand that originated with a corporate insider, making prosecuting someone like Mickelson more difficult. Walters, 69, was arrested in Las Vegas on Tuesday on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Davis, who resigned from Dean Foods' board in August, pleaded guilty on Monday. Barry Berke, Walters' lawyer, said the allegations were "based on erroneous assumptions, speculative theories and false finger-pointing." Mickelson felt "vindicated" that the SEC concluded he did not engage in any wrongdoing, his lawyer, Gregory Craig, said in a statement. He also said Mickelson had entered an agreement with the SEC to return all the money he made on the investment. Thomas Melsheimer, Davis's lawyer, said his client was "pleased to be cooperating with the government in its investigation."