Money Stolen Through Shohei Ohtani's Interpreter Ended Up in a Las Vegas Casino

Sports Illustrated
Money Stolen Through Shohei Ohtani's Interpreter Ended Up in a Las Vegas Casino
Wild Casino

The series of $500,000 payments Ippei Mizuhara sent from Shohei Ohtani's bank account to an illegal bookmaking operation were forwarded to California and Las Vegas casinos, according to ESPN. Several sources with direct knowledge of the investigation told reporters the money was deposited in gambling accounts, converted to playing chips, and later cashed out to pay the bookie.

The sources also told ESPN that Mizuhara paid his losses to California booker Mathew Bowyer's associate, who forwarded the money to his own "marker" accounts at Resorts World and Pechanga Resort Casino in Southern California. The men then reportedly withdrew chips from the marker account, gambled with them, and if they won, cashed out.

Attorneys for both Bowyer and his associate declined to comment when ESPN reached out.

Multiple sources also told ESPN that Resorts World is at the center of what federal authorities described in an affidavit as an investigation into "illegal sports bookmaking organizations operating in Southern California, and the laundering of the proceeds of these operations through casinos in Las Vegas.

ESPN attempted to reach Resorts World for comment but a spokesperson told the reporters working on the story that "Resorts World Las Vegas takes any suggestion of violations seriously and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation."

According to multiple sources with direct knowledge, Bowyer; his wife, Nicole; and their small circle of associates began making regular trips to Resorts World after it opened in 2021. Bowyer dropped more than $800,000 in his first visit, the sources said.

Bowyer has a long history of gambling at casinos. ESPN discovered through public records from his 2011 bankruptcy that Bowyer declared $425,000 in gambling losses at the Cosmopolitan and Aria casinos in Las Vegas between 2010 and 2011.

He also ran up a $1.2 million line of credit from the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, which sued him three years later in tribal court to get the money back, according to court filings. As of last year, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation that owns the casino was still trying to recoup its funds.