Ohtani Interpreter’s Alleged Embezzlement Led to California, Vegas Casinos

Erik Gibbs

A man holding casino chips over a stack of cash

Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, allegedly embezzled $16 million from the baseball star and funneled the money through a series of illegal activities. A new report by ESPN, citing sources with direct knowledge of the operation, suggests that Mizuhara allegedly used the stolen funds to pay off an illegal bookmaker, Mathew Bowyer, through casinos in California and Las Vegas.

Mizuhara allegedly made a series of unauthorized transfers from Ohtani’s bank account, eventually stealing $16 million to cover his highly unsuccessful betting habit. This money, according to the sources, was then sent to an illegal bookmaking operation run by Bowyer. 

The money reportedly landed in gambling accounts associated with Bowyer and an unnamed associate. They used their “marker” accounts – credit lines the casinos provide to high rollers – at Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) and the Pechanga Resort Casino in Southern California to convert the funds into chips. The two would then gamble with the chips, hoping to win and cash out the winnings as legitimate funds. 

Bowyer treated like royalty

The report further details Bowyer’s alleged high-rolling practices. The sources told ESPN that Bowyer would routinely visit casinos like RWLV and Pechanga, carrying between $250,000 and $1 million in cash during these visits, which ESPN reports happened two to three times a month. 

Bowyer reportedly incurred losses amounting to $7.9 million at Resorts World between June 2022 and October 2023. Following a federal raid on Bowyer’s residence on October 5, he was identified as a recognized bookmaker and subsequently prohibited from accessing casinos across the U.S. However, his name does not appear on the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s blacklist

ESPN’s sources also revealed that Bowyer had previously been banned from several Las Vegas casinos, including MGM Grand, the Palazzo, and the Venetian. However, the report states that the Palazzo and the Venetian later reinstated his access.

Bowyer is still on the blacklist maintained by the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. Nine years ago, the casino gave him a marker worth $1.2 million, which he blew through. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the owner of the casino, sued him in 2018 to recover the money, but still hasn’t been able to settle the debt

Resorts World Las Vegas facing scrutiny

The situation surrounding RWLV has garnered significant attention due to a federal grand jury subpoena issued last August. The subpoena is part of a broader investigation into the casino’s compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and Know Your Customer (KYC) practices. 

The investigation has brought to light the actions of Scott Sibella, the former president of both MGM Grand and Resorts World Las Vegas. His admission of failing to file suspicious activity reports, a key component of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, and his receipt of cash from Wayne Nix, a bookie under investigation in California, have raised serious concerns. 

These developments led to Sibella’s dismissal from RWLV and he now faces the possibility of prison time and the loss of his Nevada gaming license. The casino itself is under scrutiny and may face further investigation as a result of the new revelations surrounding Mizuhara and Bowyer. 

“Resorts World Las Vegas takes any suggestion of violations seriously and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation,” said a company spokesperson.