Mike Fish, ESPN
LOS ANGELES — For the second time in as many weeks, Phil Mickelson‘s connection to sports gambling surfaced in a federal criminal proceeding, this time on Monday, when a California man was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for transferring nearly $3 million of the pro golfer’s money to “an illegal gambling operation.”
Gregory Silveira, an avid golfer who authorities said had ties to offshore gambling, pleaded guilty last year to three counts of laundering funds from an unnamed “gambling client” of his between February 2010 and February 2013. Outside the Lines, citing sources, identified Mickelson as the client.
In court filings, prosecutors said the gambler had used the 57-year-old Silveira, who lists residences in both the Palm Springs area and San Diego, as a conduit to pay a $2.7 million gambling debt he owed to an offshore sportsbook. Silveira’s attorney stated in a subsequent filing that Silveira was “friends with a number of individuals who are also avid golfers” and, in this instance, had done a “personal favor to an individual who did not wish his wagering activity to become public.”
Mickelson, one of the top stars of the PGA Tour, made news last month when a federal insider trading investigation focused on his chummy relationship with sports gambling icon Billy Walters, himself a popular figure on the tour’s pro-am circuit. Mickelson allegedly received an insider trading tip from Walters, which resulted in the Hall of Fame golfer pocketing $931,000 off the purchase and sale of stock in little more than a week — money that authorities said he used to pay back a debt owed to Walters.
While Walters faces federal charges and is free on $25 million bail, Mickelson was spared criminal charges. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged he benefited only from the misdeeds of others, and Mickelson agreed to repay the $931,000, plus interest.
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