WASHINGTON, D.C. – As previously reported, attorney Sidney Powell, a former Assistant U.S. attorney and Appellate Section Chief, explained to Infowars.com that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara prosecuted William T. “Billy” Walters for insider trading because Bharara was looking for a high visibility target and Billy was a famous and hugely successful sports gambler in Las Vegas who owned a multi-million-dollar home on the west coast and a private jet.
What Bharara may not have known is that Billy Walters is also a multi-million-dollar philanthropic donor who made a $500,000 donation to the victims of the Mandalay Bay shooting six days before going to federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel ordered Walters to begin serving his prison sentence while awaiting appeal despite the evidence Bharara produced at trial, admitting FBI Agent David Chaves had illegally leaked grand jury information on Walters’ case to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
Walters made the $500,000 contribution anonymously, as was his habit, until Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, a gubernatorial candidate in Nevada, asked Walters for permission to make his name public, calculating that Walters’ generosity might encourage others to donate.
Success breeds resentment
In October, Walters was forced to report to federal prison to begin serving his five-year sentence, largely because U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel refused to allow him to remain out of prison until after the appeal of his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is final.
In his order on statements of reasons for sentence, Judge Castel make obvious his resentment of Walters, noting that he was “a big deal in sports gambling and golfing circles,” who had a private plane, a $17 million home on the west coast, and an adjusted gross income that exceeded $175 million for the combined tax years 2011 through 2015.
“He [Walters] had amassed a fortune,” Judge Castel wrote in the sentencing memorandum. “These crimes were not about enhancing a life of comfort or luxury – he had that already. It seems to me that Walters was fixated on appearing to himself – and to others – to be a winner. At this point in life, money was mostly a way of keeping score.”
What Castel failed to note was that over many years, Walters had donated generously to charity, usually anonymously, giving millions just to Jerry Lewis’ campaign to cure muscular dystrophy – one of the many charitable causes that touched Walters’ heart enough that he generously opened his wallet, wanting no credit for his dedication to using his wealth to do good for others.
As Infowars.com has reported, Walter’s insider trading conviction is suspect, however, given that the District Court trial record includes Bharara’s written admission that he did nothing to stop FBI Special Agent David Chaves from engaging in a systematic pattern of illegally leaking grand jury information to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times over a multi-year period, starting two years before Walters was indicted.
Bharara took the path of allowing FBI leaks to convict Walters in the press, while not stopping an FBI agent from brokering secret grand jury information to New York reporters who agreed to cooperate by handing over to the FBI any incriminating information on Walter they might happen to ferret out on their own.
Why did Walters invest in stocks?
The only reason Walters came to the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission was that he was making purchases of stock in million and multi-million dollar buys, something the SEC understands for institutional buyers, but flags as possible insider trading if the investor is an individual.
It was not uncommon for Walters to make investments of $100 million in an individual stock, with his average position in an individual stock estimated at around $20 million.
Walters’ individual purchases or sales of Dean Foods stock at various times accounted for approximately 30 percent of the total daily trading in the stock.
Trading this much money on individual stocks virtually guaranteed Walters would show up in the SEC’s computer-monitoring programs designed to catch insider trading.
Walters is a highly intelligent and complex individual who moved into trading stocks simply because his success in sports betting made it difficult even in Las Vegas to find counter-parts who would accept his seven-figure or more bets on individual games.
Walters has insisted that his success as a sports gambler and as an investor rely upon the same set of skills, namely, the ability to handicap.
“If you sit in my office you will see that I have three computers monitors I work on all day long,” Walters has often explained. “I get about 250 emails a day, I own 23 car dealerships, I owned 5 golf courses, I buy and sell stocks, I’m following a series of stocks and I watch them trade in real time. I’m on the phone talking to employees, and I answer my own phone, I don’t have an assistant. So, you can see I’m pretty busy.”
Walters says he began investing in stocks because the opportunity to make money in the stock markets was many times the opportunity to make money in sports betting, simply because the amount of money bet on sports is small compared to the amount of money that trades hands on the stock exchange daily.
“I had difficulty finding sports desks that would take bets the size I wanted to make,” Billy has insisted. “So, I ended up employing a group of runners who would go to the casinos and place bets for me.”
With Dean Foods, the company Bharara charged that Walters had engaged in criminal insider trading, Walters insists he applied the same handicapping analytic skills he had learned in sports gambling to evaluate the risk the company faced and the subsequent likelihood the stock would advance or retreat in price.
“Dean Foods was made up of three different divisions,” Walters notes. “The food and milk division basically sold milk products. That division was about 80 percent of the company in terms of revenue, and it had commodity risk and limited growth.”
Walters argued the most important variable in the milk business involves variation in raw milk prices.
“The Food and Drug Administration sets raw milk prices publicly,” he continued. “The FDA price is the minimum amount a distributor has to pay a farmer to buy milk. If raw milk prices are high, the impact on the profitability of milk distributors is very negative, just as when raw milk prices are low, milk distributors have a chance to make some serious profits.”
Walters’ point was that a key handicapping variable in his decisions whether to buy or sell Dean Food Stocks had to do with the price of raw milk, whether it was high or low according to historical standards.
He argued the next most important variable in evaluating Dean Foods was the price of diesel fuel.
“Dean Foods had a huge distribution force,” Walters likes to point out. “So, diesel fuel price spikes, both up and down, had a huge effect on the performance of Dean Foods’ stock.”
He notes the third key variable involved the price of oil.
“Paper milk cartons have two layers of polyethylene, one inside and one outside,” he said. “Most plastic milk cartons are made from high-density polyethylene, an oil product.”
But with a maximum position in Dean Foods at the height of his investing, Walters was certain to face not only the scrutiny of the SEC, but also the resentment of judges, prosecutors, and jurors.