News On Japan

Celebrity Linked to Mizuhara's Bank Fraud Splurge in Las Vegas

LOS ANGELES, May 15 (News On Japan) - Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter made his first public appearance on Tuesday, two months after confessing to massive bank fraud, walking alongside his lawyer on his way to court where he formally entered a 'Not Guilty' plea in a five-minute hearing. Despite numerous questions from reporters as he walked alongside his lawyer, 39-year-old Ippei Mizuhara remained silent.

With longer hair at the nape and a somewhat tired look, Mizuhara's distant gaze seemed to reflect an uncertain future.

Without responding to any questions, Mizuhara proceeded to the courthouse. During the brief hearing, he spoke only six times: five times to say "Yes" and once to avoid a guilty plea, which was merely a formality as he had already accepted a plea deal.

The session ended in just five minutes, and Mizuhara quickly exited. The intensity of questions from reporters increased, but Mizuhara remained silent.

Mizuhara is charged with bank fraud for illegally transferring about $17 million (approximately 2.6 billion yen) from Shohei Ohtani's account for illegal sports betting, and for submitting false tax returns.

Over 2.3 Billion Yen Received: The Celebrity's True Face

Two individuals are reportedly linked to the vast sums Mizuhara allegedly transferred from Ohtani's account.

These individuals are bookmaker Matthew Bowyer and Ryan Boyajian, who is believed to be the recipient of the illicit transfers. Boyajian is a known celebrity, featuring in popular reality TV shows in the U.S., and flaunting a luxurious lifestyle on social media.

According to the Washington Post, "For many years, Boyajian has frequently appeared in Bowyer's business dealings as a close friend and partner."

The two were often seen together in Las Vegas casinos, sharing a close relationship.

From February 2022 to October 2023, Boyajian reportedly received about 2.3 billion yen (15 million dollars) from Ohtani's account, in place of Bowyer.

Casino Splurges: Nearly 80% of 'Ohtani Money' Lost

Local media report that during the period when Boyajian received millions of dollars from Ohtani's account, Bowyer visited Las Vegas casinos 32 times, losing $7.9 million. Boyajian visited 21 times, losing $3.7 million. Combined, they lost about 1.8 billion yen, nearly 80% of the transferred funds.

Inquiries to the casinos they frequented yielded a statement regarding the scandal: "We immediately banned Bowyer and Boyajian from our facilities once their involvement became known. They are still prohibited from reentering."

While Bowyer's home was searched, Boyajian, through his attorney, stated that he had reached a plea deal with prosecutors and was cooperating with the investigation.

Mizuhara's next court date is set for June 14, where he is expected to formally enter a guilty plea.

Source: ANN

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