Billy Walters just lost his largest wager ever -- and this time, it’s likely to cost him much more than cash.
Widely considered the nation’s most successful sports gambler, Walters was convicted Friday in the highest-profile -- and most colorful -- insider-trading trial in years. Testimony featured golfer Phil Mickelson and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, as well as a seamy world of gambling debts, stock tips delivered on burner phones and charity money used for prostitutes.
"If I would have made a bet I would have lost," Walters told reporters as he left court. "I just did lose the biggest bet of my life. Frankly I’m in shock."
“Billy Walters lost his bet that he could cheat the securities market on a massive scale,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney, Joon H. Kim, said in a statement. “Walters underestimated law enforcement’s resolve to pursue and catch those who cheat the market.”
Unless he’s successful on appeal, Walters will be forced to walk away from Las Vegas businesses that include golf courses, auto dealerships and car-rental agencies, with total revenue of $500 million in 2013, according to testimony from his company’s controller. Walters, who didn’t testify at the trial in Manhattan federal court, has said he owns seven homes and a $20 million jet.