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Phil Mickelson's millions tied to illegal gambling case

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Phil Mickelson throughout his career
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Phil Mickelson's millions tied to illegal gambling case
CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 14: Phil Mickelson yells four after teeing off on the 16th hole during round one at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 14, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson watches the ball fly during a NCAA golfing event.
21 Feb 1993: Phil Mickelson lines up a putt during the 1993 Buick Invitational at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in Torrey Pines, California. Mandatory Credit: Gary Newkirk /Allsport
24 Feb 1995: Phil Mickelson looks on during the Nissan Los Angeles Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, California.
27 Jan 1996: Phil Mickelson of the USA drives at the 17th hole during the final round of the Phoenix Open at the TPC of Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mickelson defeated Justin Leonard in a three-hole playoff. Mandatory Credit: Simon P. Barnett/Alls
9 Feb 1996: Golfer Phil Mickelson takes to the green during competition at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, CaliforniaCalifornia. Mickelson finished 17 under par for a 271. Davis Love III won the tournament by two strokes
8 Feb 1996: Phil Mickelson swings at the ball during the Buick Invitational in San Diego, California.
31 Jan 1998: Phil Mickelson during the AT&T National Pro-Am at Spyglass Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones /Allsport
23 Aug 1997: Phil Mickelson hugs Amy Mickelson at the NEC World Series of Golf at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Greg Norman went on to win the tournament.
10 Apr 1999: Phil Mickelson of the USA plays out the bunker during the 1999 US Masters at the Augusta National GC in Augusta, Georgia, USA. \ Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones /Allsport
18 Aug 2000: Phil Mickelson follows his drive during the PGA Championship, part of the PGA Tour at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
25 Jan 2001: A silhouette of a golfer during the Phoenix open at the TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona.Mandatory Credit: Jon Ferrey /Allsport
8 Apr 2001: Phil Mickelson of the USA lines up a putt on the 4th green during the final day of the 2001 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA, USA.....DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday/ALLSPORT
15 Jun 2001: Phil Mickelson hits a long drive during the 101st US Open at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport
29 Nov 2001: Phil Mickelson plays golf at Whisper Rock, a course that he designed in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - APRIL 20: Phil Mickelson pulls a club during the third round of the WorldCom Classic at Harbour Town GL in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on April 19, 2002. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
GULLANE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16: Phil Mickelson of the USA waits to play his shot during the practice round for the 131st Open Championships at Muirfield Golf Club, Gullane, Scotland on July 16, 2002. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
THOMASTOWN - 19 SEPTEMBER: Phil Mickelson of the USA hits his approach to the second green during the first round of the World Golf Championships: American Express Championship at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Kilkenny, Ireland on September 19, 2002. (photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Phil Mickelson of USA celebrates his birdie on the 1st hole with David Toms of USA during the third round of the EMC World Cup at the Vista Vallarta Club de Golf on December 14, 2002 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
OLYMPIA FIELDS, IL - JUNE 13: Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt during the second round of the 2003 US Open on the North Course at the Olympia Fields Country Club on June 13, 2003, Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Phil Mickelson of the USA plays out from a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the Open Championship at the Royal St George's course on July 17, 2003 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, UNITED STATES: Phil Mickelson (L) of the US receives the green jacket from 2003 Champion Mike Weir (R) of Canada at the awards ceremony after Mickelson made the birdie putt the 18th green during the final round of the Masters Golf Tournament 11 April 2004 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA. Mickelson won the tournament at nine under par. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson checks the wind at Whistling Straits, site of the 86th PGA Championship in Haven, Wisconsin August 12, 2004. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 13: Phil Mickelson during the final round of the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Club in Pebble Beach, California on February 13, 2005. Mickelson won the event by four strokes at -19 par. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MAMARONECK, NY - JUNE 15: Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot on the 15th hole during the first round of the 2006 US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 15, 2006 in Mamaroneck, New York. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: Phil Mickelson is presented the green jacket by Tiger Woods after his 7-under par victory during the Final Round of The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2006 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Getty Images)
STRAFFAN, IRELAND - AUGUST 28: Phil Mickelson of the USA speaks to the press during a USA Team Practice prior to the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on August 28, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 13: Phil Mickelson of the USA holds the trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS held on the Stadium Course at The TPC Sawgrass, on May 13, 2007 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
SINGAPORE - NOVEMBER 15: Phil Mickelson of USA in action during the 3rd round of the Barclays Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club on November 15, 2008 in Singapore. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
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One of the PGA's richest and most popular players, Phil Mickelson is now being tied to an illegal gambling operation. Three million dollars was transferred from the golfer to an intermediary for the operation. However, in spite of that dire-sounding news, Mickelson is currently not under investigation by the Feds, nor has he been charged with a crime. On the other hand, a former sports handicapper for gambling operations has pleaded guilty to laundering nearly three million of Mickelson's money.

The sullied handicapper is 56-year-old Gregory Silveira of La Quinta, and he pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering as part of his deal with prosecutors. His counts of money laundering were for funds from an "unnamed gambling client." The client is assumed to be Mickelson, according to ESPN's sources close to the case. Silveira will be sentenced in October and he could get up to 60 years, though a max sentence seems unlikely.

As for Mickelson, he has had no comment on the case and for the most part, why should he? It seems fairly obvious that his money was used without his permission. Beyond that, as noted in the ESPN article on the case, gambling laws are targeted at companies and enterprises, not individuals.

A detailed play-by-play said that in 2010 Silveira, who was part of an illegal gambling operation, took a wire transfer of $2.75 million. He allegedly knew this money was part of illegal sports betting and came from an unnamed gambling client. The money was transferred to Silveira's Wells Fargo bank account and then $2.475 million was transferred into another Wells Fargo account three days later. He added another $275,000 to that, before transferring the previous amount to another account, this time with JPMorgan Chase.

The three transfers in this case are part of the money laundering scheme, which said that Silveira transferred the money to continue carrying on his nefarious operation. In his documents the money is referred to as "proceeds," but this is apparently typical terminology and doesn't indicate whether it was money won or lost by Mickelson or any gambling operation. The documents also do not indicate what triggered the investigation.

In spite of his relative innocence here, this isn't the first time that Mickelson has been implicated in something of a financial nature. Last year his name also came up in an insider trading investigation being conducted by the Feds. He was eventually cleared of any suspicions, though it's also well-known that Mickelson is an avid sports bettor.

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