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A timeline of Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter’s spiraling gambling debts

Paula Lavigne, ESPN

In their complaint filed Thursday, federal investigators said they had conducted forensic reviews of the phone of Shohei Ohtani‘s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, as well as devices belonging to “Bookmaker 1,” assumed to be Southern California bookie Mathew Bowyer, and “Bookmaker 2,” an associate of Bowyer’s.

Prosecutors accused Mizuhara of bank fraud and said he stole more than $16 million over several years from Ohtani. Before he was fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 20, Mizuhara had interpreted for Ohtani since the superstar moved to the United States in 2018.

Texts among the parties, as laid out in the 37-page complaint, depict Mizuhara’s apparent descent into an uncontrolled sports betting addiction, and the bookie who kept extending his credit as long as Mizuhara covered his losses.

Getting started

Mizuhara has said he met Bowyer at a poker game in San Diego in 2021. According to the complaint, on or about Sept. 8, 2021, “Bookmaker 2” provides Mizuhara an account number, password and URL for an illegal betting website. About two weeks later, Mizuhara messages Bookmaker 2: “Ive just been messing around with soccer, theres games on 24/7 lol. I took UCLA but they lost outright!!!”

The same day, Mizuhara messages Bookmaker 2: “How does the withdrawing and paying work?” Bookmaker 2 responds later that day, “He pays and collects as the week ends Sunday night[.] Whatever you are up or down Sunday night you pay or receive[.] Last week you were down and he rolled it as hes ok with it[.] I say have a settle figure[.] Meaning pick a number you want to settle at either way[.]”

On Oct. 27, 2021, Bookmaker 2 messages Mizuhara: “[Bowyer] asked me to reach out to you . . . he sees you playing and wants to settle this by tomorrow[.] I can meet you or one his runners can.” Mizuhara responds, “I’m back in Anaheim now, is there any way to pay [Bowyer] via credit or debit card . . . I can wire the amount to his bank account. Do you know what bank he uses?”

Through the fall, text traffic indicates Mizuhara struggling to transfer funds to cover his debt because of bank limits or other issues. On or about Nov. 9, he tells Bookmaker 2: “tried almost every option possible and none of it is working. … this is super stressing.”

The next day, he tells Bookmaker 2 that he is “able to send 40k,” adding that it looks as if the method works “but I can only send 40k at a time.”

Rest is here

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