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Golfer Phil Mickleson linked to money laundering, gambling case

June 30, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Golfer Phil Mickleson linked to money laundering, gambling case

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An ESPN report has connected $2.75 million in bets by San Diego pro golfer Phil Mickelson to a La Quinta man who pleaded guilty on June 22 to laundering money in an illegal gambling operation, although Mickelson has not been charged with a crime, nor is he under federal investigation.

Citing two unnamed sources and court documents, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that in March 2010, Gregory Silveira of La Quinta accepted a $2.75 million wire transfer from Mickelson, and after several transfers of the money between Silveira’s bank accounts, Silveira placed bets with an offshore gambling operation.

In Silveira’s plea agreement document with the U.S. Department of Justice in Riverside, the bettor is identified only as a “gambling client.” Outside the Lines reported that two sources indicated the client was Mickelson.

ESPN reported that an initial plea agreement signed last month by Silveira and his attorney, James D. Harrison Sr., made reference to the “money laundering funds of P.M.” The report said “after Outside the Lines inquired about Mickelson’s potential role in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office on June 17 filed a motion to have the original plea agreement stricken. The next day, it filed an amended version minus any reference to ‘P.M.’”

It is standard Department of Justice policy for documents not to mention third parties who are not criminally charged. According to Lester Munson, a legal analyst for ESPN, federal statutes are directed at gambling operations of more than five employees, not individual gamblers.

Munson said Mickelson could have only faced charges if investigators had found that Mickelson was complicit in the concealment of the money laundering.

A spokesman for Mickelson told the San Diego Union-Tribune the golfer would not have a comment. A PGA Tour spokesman said the tour had no comment. According to the tour, it has no rules that prohibit players from gambling, other than betting with other players during their competitive rounds.

ESPN contacted Mickelson’s longtime personal attorney, Glenn Cohen, who declined to comment. Cohen said another attorney assisted Mickelson in the matter. Silveira could not be reached and his attorney would not comment.

According to court documents, on March 26, 2010, Silveira accepted a wire transfer of $2.75 million into his own Wells Fargo Bank account. Three days later, in two separate moves, Silveira transferred $2.475 million and $275,000 to another Wells Fargo account. The following day, Silveira transferred $2.475 million into a JPMorgan Chase Bank account.

In making the transactions, prosecutors charged that Silveira “initiated these three transfers with the intent to promote the carrying on of an illegal gambling operation.”

There are no details in the court records specific to the nature or amount of bets that Silveira placed, or money that was won or lost.

Silveira is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Oct. 5. He faces up to 60 years in prison, but likely will receive a much shorter sentence.

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