According to a report from George Knapp, the Chief Investigative Reporter for KLAS TV 8 I-Team in Las Vegas, famous sports bettor Billy Walters will be released early from a minimum-security federal prison in Pensacola, Fla.
The 73-year-old Walters was convicted of securities fraud and wire fraud in 2017. Prosecutors claimed Walters made $40 million from illegally trading stock in Dean Foods Co. from 2008-2015. He was fined $10 million and issued a five-year prison sentence.
Walters blamed his conviction on professional golfer Phil Mickelson, a former friend and gambling partner who prosecutors say owed Walters a betting debt of $1.95 million.
The government convinced a jury that Walters tipped Mickelson off to buying shares of Dean Foods. Mickelson heavily invested in the stock and made a killing, eventually transferring $2 million of his profit to Walters to cover his debt in September of 2012.
“Here is a guy that all he had to do was come forward and tell the truth,” Walters told ESPN of Mickelson before he was sent to prison. “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.”
For decades, Walters was the most feared gambler around for Las Vegas sportsbooks. He reportedly amassed a fortune through gambling, trading stocks, real-estate deals and owning multiple car dealerships. Walters made enough money to buy seven different homes and a $20 million private jet.
According to David Ferrara’s sources in a story for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Walters will be released from prison this weekend due to health concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After serving more than half of his five-year sentence, Walters will serve the remainder of his time in home confinement in San Diego.