The multi-millionaire Las Vegas professional gambler accused of passing insider stock tips to golfer Phil Mickelson was told by a Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday that he couldn’t keep jetting around the country on his private plane without restrictions.
U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel approved a $25 million bail on insider trading charges for William “Billy” Walters, restricted travel to his home state of California and New York, and ordered him to fly commercial unless he gets permission from court officials.
Castel overturned a magistrate who allowed Walters unrestricted nationwide travel on his jet, noting that typical defendants like drug dealers were restricted to the New York district where they were charged, and Walters didn’t deserve special privileges.
“It’s very rare,” he said.
Walters, who prosecutors said has a net worth of $200 million and has made $30 million a year for the past three years, was charged last month with trading on insider tips from a Dean Foods official, and passing a tip to Mickelson to help him pay a gambling debt.
Walters’ lawyer said he needed to travel freely because he owns real estate and auto businesses in a half-dozen states from Nevada to Georgia. Prosecutors said he might flee abroad if pretrial services officials don’t oversee his travel and his use of the private jet.
Walters entered a not guilty plea on Wednesday.