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Golfer Mickelson Accused of Profiting From Insider Trading

  • VOA News

FILE - Phil Mickelson signs autographs at the U.S. Open golf tournament in Bethesda, Maryland, June 14, 2011. Mickelson has been accused of gaining financially from information he received about a Texas-based food company.

FILE - Phil Mickelson signs autographs at the U.S. Open golf tournament in Bethesda, Maryland, June 14, 2011. Mickelson has been accused of gaining financially from information he received about a Texas-based food company.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday accused professional golfer Phil Mickelson of profiting from an insider trading scheme.

The SEC complaint said Mickelson reaped financial gains after trading on information he received from a gambler named William Walters about Dean Foods Company.

In 2012, the SEC said, Walters called and texted Mickelson, urging him to buy stock in the company. Mickelson bought the stock and sold it about a week later, making a profit of about $931,000.

As a relief defendant, Mickelson is accused of receiving money based upon the illegal conduct of others, but not of participating in insider trading.

In response to the SEC complaint, Mickelson said in a statement issued by his attorney that he would return the profits and took "full responsibility" for having become part of the investigation.

Mickelson confirmed in 2014 that FBI agents investigating insider trading had questioned him. But Mickelson has not discussed his relationship with Walters, a multimillionaire who owns several golf courses and auto dealerships.

Mickelson, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, has long had a reputation for being a gambler, though he has said he scaled back his wagering after the birth of his son in 2003. The most publicized payoff was when Mickelson and friends won $560,000 on a preseason bet (the odds were 28-1) that the Baltimore Ravens would win the 2001 Super Bowl.

Mickelson has a history of playing money games during practice rounds. He occasionally gets a group of players and caddies together for dinner and small wagering during professional basketball and hockey playoffs and prominent boxing matches.

A spokesman for Dean Foods, based in Dallas, Texas, said the company was cooperating with government investigators.

Some information for this report came from AP.

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