Professional golfer and three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson will pay back the money he made from buying stock in Dean Foods after allegedly receiving privileged information, his attorney said in a statement to Reuters Thursday.
Mickelson was named as a relief defendant in a civil case by the Securities and Exchange Commission that is connected to criminal charges against William Walters, a professional sports gambler, and Thomas Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods, for insider trading. The FBI arrested Walters in Las Vegas on Wednesday, The New York Times' Matthew Goldstein and Ben Protess reported.
It’s alleged that Davis fed Walters details about Dean Foods' business and plans in exchange for almost $100,000 and repayment of a $350,000 debt. The SEC put the total amount Walters made from Davis’ tips, plus losses he was able to avoid, at $40 million. Walters and Davis are alleged to have shared information between 2008 and 2012.
Mickelson was roped into the situation in 2012, the SEC says, when Walters called him about a gambling debt the golfer owed him. During the call, Walters allegedly told Mickelson to buy Dean Foods stock, which Mickelson did. When Dean Foods announced quarterly earnings and a spin-off plan about a week later, the stock jumped 40 percent and Mickelson made $931,000, according to the SEC complaint.
Mickelson faces no criminal charges. As a relief defendant in the civil case, he is not accused of insider trading or any other wrongdoing, but he allegedly benefited from other people's wrongful action.
Mickelson “said he had no desire to benefit from any transaction that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission viewed as questionable and that he takes 'full responsibility' for having become part of the probe,” Reuters' Daniel Wallis wrote.