Phil Mickelson will repay $1 million made from insider trading tip

Phil Mickelson will repay $1 million made from insider trading tip
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Golfer Phil Mickelson has agreed to repay nearly $1 million in profits he made from an insider trading tip. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday filed a complaint demanding that he return the money made from the tip. 

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In a third-person statement provided to The Hill, Mickelson said he takes “full responsibility” for his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme and "has no desire to benefit from any transaction that the SEC sees as questionable.” As a result, he said, he has "entered into an agreement with the SEC" in which he will return the money.

Mickelson insisted he “did not engage in any wrongdoing.”  

"The SEC has filed a civil complaint against certain individuals, including an acquaintance" of his, but that the complaint "does not assert that Phil Mickelson violated the securities laws in any way.”

"On that point, Phil feels vindicated,” he said about himself. 

The SEC said in its documents that Mickelson received the tip from sports gambler Billy Walters, to whom the golfer owed money. According to court documents, the SEC alleges that Walters received the insider information from Dean Foods chairman Thomas Davis, who also owed him money. Walters, in turn, passed along the tip to Mickelson.

Davis and Walters face separate criminal charges brought by federal prosecutors.

"In exchange for insider trading tips, Walters helped Davis with his financial problems by, among other things, providing Davis with almost $1,000,000,” the SEC said in the civil complaint. "In April 2010, Walters arranged for a friend to provide Davis with $625,000. In November 2011, Walters provided Davis with an additional $350,000, money Davis needed to repay certain debts." 

Mickelson then purchased a $2.4 million stake in Dean Foods, which helped him turn a $931,000 profit, the SEC said. Up to that point, Mickelson owned less than $250,000 in securities and had never previously invested in Dean Foods, according to the complaint. 

"At a time when Walters was in possession of material non-public information regarding Dean Foods, Walters communicated with Mickelson and urged Mickelson to trade in Dean Foods stock, which Mickelson did the next trading day in three brokerage accounts he controlled,” the SEC complaint continued. "About one week later, Dean Foods’s stock price jumped 40 percent."  

The case is before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.