Professional golfer Phil Mickelson, known for his aggressive, daring style of golf and his right-wing political views, has been found to have been involved with an illegal gambling ring:
Nearly $3 million transferred from golfer Phil Mickelson to an intermediary was part of “an illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events,” according to two sources and court documents obtained by Outside the Lines.
Mickelson, a five-time major winner and one of the PGA Tour’s wealthiest and most popular players, has not been charged with a crime and is not under federal investigation. But a 56-year-old former sports gambling handicapper, acting as a conduit for an offshore gambling operation, pleaded guilty last week to laundering approximately $2.75 million of money that two sources told Outside the Lines belonged to Mickelson.
Gregory Silveira of La Quinta reached an agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering of funds from an unnamed “gambling client” of his between February 2010 and February 2013. Sources familiar with the case said Mickelson, who was not named in court documents, is the unnamed “gambling client.” Silveira is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 before U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips and faces up to 60 years in prison, though the sentence will likely be far shorter.
Although the full identity of the “gambling client” has not been officially revealed, the initials of the “gambling client” were listed in court documents as P.M., and ESPN is reporting, citing unnamed sources, that the “gambling client” is Phil Mickelson.
While Mickelson is probably not going to face federal criminal charges due to the nature in which illegal gambling rings are prosecuted at the federal level in the United States (federal prosecutors only go after illegal gambling enterprises and the individuals running them, not individual bettors in illegal gambling enterprises), this raises a series of questions regarding Mickelson’s role in the illegal gambling enterprise:
- Did Phil Mickelson bet on golf tournaments?
- If the answer to question #1 is “yes”, did Mickelson bet on golf tournaments in which he was a competitor?
- If the answer to questions #1 and #2 are both “yes”, did Mickelson deliberately lose golf tournaments that he bet on?
To answer those questions, the PGA Tour, the United States Golf Assocation (USGA), the R&A, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA of America), the Augusta National Golf Club, and any other golf sanctioning bodies in which Phil Mickelson played sanctioned golf tournaments in should conduct an investigation in order to determine whether or not Phil Mickelson deliberately lost golf tournaments in order to receive monetary payouts from Gregory Silveira’s illegal gambling operation.