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Gambler Billy Walters sentenced to 5 years in insider-trading scheme

  • Walters was convicted in April on all 10 counts he faced.
  • Prosecutors said he made $32 million in profit from insider tips from 2008 to 2014.
  • The scheme included a stock tip to star professional golfer Phil Mickelson.

Las Vegas gambler William "Billy" Walters on Thursday was sentenced to five years in prison over his role in a $43 million insider-trading scheme.

In April, Walters was convicted on all 10 counts he faced, including securities fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud.

From 2008 to 2014, prosecutors argued that Walters made $32 million in profit and avoided another $11 million in losses. Walters stood accused of trading on insider information on Dean Foods Co., which he obtained from former company chairman Thomas Davis.

Walters' maneuvers also involved a stock tip to Phil Mickelson, a star golfer, and Carl Icahn. The prosecution said Mickelson made nearly $1 million after Walters advised him in 2012 to buy stock in Dean Foods.

Neither Mickelson nor Icahn were charged with wrongdoing. Mickelson didn't testify during the trial, but the prosecution did rely on testimony from Davis.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel also ordered Walters to pay a $10 million fine to go along with his prison sentence.

Castel called Walters' crime "amateurishly simple" and called him "a cheater and a criminal, and not a very clever one."

"Making millions in the stock market with a deck stacked in your favor leads to time in a federal penitentiary," Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in announcing Walters' sentencing.

Walters, who is 71 years old, is scheduled to surrender to authorities on Oct. 10. He plans to appeal.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this article.