Money stolen from Shohei Ohtani reportedly laundered through casinos

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Money stolen from Shohei Ohtani reportedly laundered through casinos
Wild Casino

Behind all the drama involving Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, stealing $16 million from the MLB star to fund his gambling addiction, there was always the investigation of an illegal bookmaking operation at the center of it.

On Tuesday, we learned more about that operation and how exactly Ohtani’s money made it to the California bookmaker who was taking Mizuhara’s bets. According to reporting from ESPN’s Tisha Thompson, the stolen funds were funneled to bookmaker Matthew Boyer through casinos in California and Las Vegas.

Here’s everything you need to know about the latest report.

Yeah, so let’s get this out the way first, because it’s important. Boyer is the California bookmaker who took Mizuhara’s bets. He ran the operation. Only, as we’re finding out, Mizuhara didn’t pay Boyer directly. According to ESPN, the money was funneled to Boyer through multiple casinos in $500,000 increments.

Good question. According to the report, the payments from Ohtani’s bank account went to one of Boyer’s associates, who then deposited the money into his own “marker” accounts at the Resorts World casino in Las Vegas and the Pechanga Resort Casino in Southern California. The money was converted into chips for gambling, and if the men won, they cashed out.

Overall, Bowyer lost $7.9 million at Resorts World from June 2022 to October 2023, ESPN reported.

Yep, that’s what it sounds like. ESPN’s report said Resorts World is at the center of what federal investigators described 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.”

Well, we don’t know that to be a fact. But whatever the involvement, it certainly doesn’t look good. Resorts World fired former president and chief operating officer Scott Sibella in September for a violation of company policies. He’s the same former president of MGM Grand who pleaded guilty in January to charges of failing to report illegal gamblers playing at the casino when he worked there in 2018.

A spokesperson for Resort World told ESPN it “takes any suggestion of violations seriously and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.” According to ESPN, Resorts World was served a federal subpoena last August that in part sought documents related to its anti-money laundering policies.

Well, let me note first that neither Boyer nor any of his associates have been named in any unsealed indictments to date. But Boyer did have his home raided by federal agents in October, after which point he was dubbed a known bookmaker and banned from casinos throughout the U.S., according to ESPN.

In that raid, agents seized computers, cell phones, jewelry, luxury handbags, a money counting machine, cash and chips from several casinos, the report added. Agents were authorized to seize records that could show evidence of Bowyer committing federal crimes.