Three names on a long list
Before leaving the White House for the final time, former US President Donald Trump handed out pardons and commutations to 143 people. Among this list, Trump included Las Vegas professional sports bettor William “Billy” Walters, and two men accused of involvement in illegal gambling rings.
Trump handed out pardons and commutations to 143 people
A federal judge convicted Billy Walters of insider trading in 2017, sentencing him to five years in prison along with a $10m fine. The 74-year-old has been under house arrest since May 2020 due to coronavirus. He has already served more than half of his sentence, but the commutation from Trump clears him of his remaining term.
Meanwhile, gambling ring convicts Casey Urlacher and Hillel Nahmad both received presidential pardons Tuesday night. Casey Urlacher, brother of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, faced a potential ten-year prison term for recruiting for an illegal offshore gambling site. Art dealer Nahmad served five months in prison in 2014 for organizing a sports betting ring.
Famed bettor turned convict
In 2017, Billy Walters faced accusations of insider trading in a high-profile court case. He was well-known as a professional sports bettor, real estate mogul, and philanthropist, but the case drew headlines because of its ties to professional golfer Phil Mickelson.
Prosecutors said Mickelson owed Walters $2m in gambling debts in 2012. To assist him in covering those debts, Walters utilized non-public information to help the golfer earn $1m through stock trading. Mickelson repaid the money after the Securities and Exchange Commission cited him in a lawsuit. He ultimately avoided any criminal charges, but Walters was not so lucky.
Trump commuted Walters’ five-year sentence for conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud
On Tuesday, Trump commuted Walters’ five-year sentence for conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud. In a statement, Walters pledged to continue pursuing a lawsuit against the law enforcement officials who convicted him. “I have tried to lead a life marked by concern for others and I hope those qualities, along with the government misconduct that led to my wrongful conviction, convinced the White House to grant me clemency,” he concluded.
Mayor faced a potential ten years
Last year, prosecutors indicted Casey Urlacher along with nine other people for his involvement in an illegal offshore gambling ring. According to the criminal complaints, Urlacher recruited players for a Costa Rica-based website called UncleMickSports. The operation generated millions of dollars by illegally drawing in Chicago-based gamblers.
Urlacher, now the mayor of Mettawa, Illinois, allegedly recruited bettors to the website. He then received a portion of their losses as a form of payment. As a result, he faced two criminal charges carrying a potential prison sentence of five years each. He pleaded not guilty in March 2020.
The White House described Urlacher’s “commitment to public service” as one reason behind his pardoning on Tuesday night.
Art dealer’s crimes forgiven
In 2014, Hillel Nahmad, a famed New York art dealer and member of a wealthy art collector family, spent five months in prison. A federal judge convicted him of organizing an illegal gambling ring alleged to have generated $100m in profits. As part of his sentence, Nahmad had to forfeit $6.4m of his own earnings from the operation.
court ultimately sentenced Nahmad to prison and a $30,000 fine
Investigators said the gambling ring attracted celebrity participants along with members of Russian-American organized crime groups. The court ultimately sentenced Nahmad to prison and a $30,000 fine. He also had to take part in a program for gambling addiction.
According to the New York Times, Nahmad did not respond to requests for comment after his presidential pardon Tuesday night. The art dealer has ties to Trump, having purchased the entire 51st floor of the Trump Tower in Manhattan for a total of $18.4m in 2016.