After months of rumors and allegations, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced yesterday that Phil Mickelson was part of an insider trading case. The good news is that as a “relief defendant,” Mickelson isn’t accused of having done anything illegal. The bad news? He has to pay the SEC the $931,000 he made from the deal.
Charged in the federal indictment were Billy Walters, an investor and well-known Las Vegas gambler, and Thomas Davis, former chairman of Dean Foods. In July 2012, Walters told Mickelson something about Dean Foods, information Walters obtained from Davis; Mickelson quickly invested $2.4 million in the company’s stock and sold it a few days later for the near-million-dollar profit.
As part of the lawsuit details, it was reported that Mickelson had been placing bets with Walters for years and owed him money when the tip was given. In announcing that he’d return the money, Mickelson noted that his sponsors are sticking by him and that “He takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation.” Most financial websites and such have noted that Mickelson has nearly $80 million in lifetime earnings, plus many millions more from his endorsements: According to Forbes, in 2015 his off-course income totaled $48 million.