Phil Mickelson, who is never known to shy away from a bet or money game both on and off the golf course, is reportedly tied to a money laundering and gambling case, according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Apparently, Mickelson transferred nearly $3 million to an intermediary that was part of an “illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events.” However, the five-time major winner has not been charged with a crime and is not under federal investigation.
Gregory Silveira of La Quinta, a 56-year-old former sports gambling handicapper, acting as a conduit for an offshore gambling operation, pleaded guilty last week to laundering $2.75 million — which two sources told OTL was Mickelson’s money.
According to court documents, in March 2010, Silveira — a participant in “an illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events” — accepted a wire transfer of $2.75 million, which he knew was part of “illegal sports betting.” The money, according to the documents, came from a “gambling client” and had been transferred into Silveira’s Wells Fargo Bank account. Three days later, Silveira transferred $2.475 million and then $275,000 into another of his Wells Fargo accounts. The next day, Silveira transferred the $2.475 million to another account he controlled at JPMorgan Chase Bank.
The three transactions constitute the money laundering charges: “At the time, defendant initiated these three transfers with the intent to promote the carrying on of an illegal gambling operation,” according to the plea agreement, which was signed May 1.
In court documents detailing the plea agreement reached between Silveira and the U.S. Department of Justice does not name the third party “gambling client.” However, in the initial plea agreement signed last month, there was a reference to the “money laundering of funds from P.M.” When OTL inquired about Mickelson’s potential part in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion to have the original plea agreement stricken and the following day, any reference to “P.M.” was erased.
While it doesn’t sound like Mickelson is any trouble (for now), he has a long history of having a penchant for somewhat “harmless” wagers. But, last year his name surfaced in an ongoing federal insider trading investigation. He was cleared one charge, but it remains hazy whether or not federal authorities are still investigating well-timed trades of another stock.
One of Mickelson’s most famous bets occurred in 2000 when he formed a betting syndicate that placed a preseason wager of $20,000 on the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl (22/1). The Ravens ended up beating the New York Giants and the reported payout was over half a million dollars.
Mickelson is known for his weekly money games with fellow players, which start at $1,000 (emphasis on the word “start”). He isn’t one to shy away from smaller bets, either. In 2001 during a playoff at the NEC Invitational, Mickelson bet Mike Weir $20 at 25-1 odds in the locker room that Jim Furyk would hole out from the sand. Furyk came through and Mickelson took $500 off Weir. The stories are endless.
But, point of this current case is that it doesn’t appear like Mickelson is any trouble. Make your own conclusions.
(Photo via ESPN.com)