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Ohtani’s Money Funneled into Gambling Ring: Vegas and California Casinos Under Scrutiny

A federal investigation has unveiled a complex scheme in which millions of dollars were stolen from Shohei Ohtani’s bank account and funneled into an illegal gambling operation. The probe reveals how Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, allegedly diverted funds to bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, which then circulated through casinos in Las Vegas and California.

The Gambling Trail

Over a series of transactions, Mizuhara transferred large sums to Bowyer’s gambling operation, which were then funneled through casinos like Resorts World in Las Vegas and Pechanga Resort Casino in California. The funds were deposited into gambling accounts, converted into playing chips, and later cashed out to pay the bookmaker’s associates, sources with direct knowledge told ESPN.

Bowyer, 49, has been a prominent figure in the gambling world, with extensive ties to Las Vegas casinos. Between June 2022 and October 2023, he lost nearly $8 million at Resorts World alone. Following a federal raid on Bowyer’s home in October, he was dubbed a known bookmaker and banned from entering casinos nationwide.

Federal Probe and Legal Fallout

The ongoing investigation has shed light on an intricate network of illegal sports betting organizations operating in Southern California, with money laundering through casinos in Las Vegas. Resorts World was subpoenaed in August, requesting documents related to its anti-money laundering policies and other practices.

Resorts World has stated it is cooperating with the investigation, and in September, fired its president, Scott Sibella, for policy violations. Sibella had previously pled guilty to charges of failing to file suspicious activity reports while working at MGM Grand, particularly in relation to another bookmaker, Wayne Nix.

Casino Connections and Bowyer’s Background

Bowyer’s gambling habits and connections to casinos have been highlighted throughout the investigation. Despite being known as a “whale” in Vegas, he has faced bans from several casinos, including MGM Grand. His bankruptcy filings from 2011 revealed substantial losses at various casinos, and Foxwoods Resort Casino has been attempting to recover a $1.2 million line of credit issued to Bowyer.

The Bigger Picture

The investigation has led to charges or convictions for a dozen individuals, and at least two casinos have agreed to pay fines. The federal probe highlights the extent to which illegal sports betting organizations intertwine with legitimate casinos, raising questions about anti-money laundering measures and industry oversight. The story continues to evolve as legal proceedings unfold, revealing the intricate web of relationships between bookies, gamblers, and casinos.

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