Shohei Ohtani’s attorneys accuse interpreter of ‘massive theft’ tied to alleged gambling

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
14,186
Even if all the deferred $ in the Dodger contract is coincidental and entirely unrelated to this very strange and getting stranger story.... have to imagine Mazuhara was not thrilled with that decision.

This guy apparently set up the account with all of Ohtani's MLB paycheck deposits (and had free reign to steal from it). He must have assumed the guy was going to be getting 50M/year (25M or so after tax), and all of a sudden the guy signs for 2M per year in 2024.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
5,674
Pittsburgh, PA
$16M is a TON of money for someone that, prior to 2023, had only made like $13M pretax from his MLB salaries.

Ohtani obviously has had endorsements, baseball income in Japan, etc, but that is a super meaningful amount of money even to him (at least until he signed his $700M contract, which this theft predated, and the vast majority of that cash is deferred anyway). It may have been half of his liquid assets or more
I think it's more like $40M pre-tax. Call it $20M after taxes - so Ippei stole most of the money Shohei earned from the Angels.
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
2,594
Simi Valley, CA
I didn't read the whole thing but the interpreter's constant messaging saying he is trying to wire what he owe's but it won't go through to asking if he can pay by credit card is pathetic.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
14,186
Here is the complaint, which will have more details than the press release: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/24542204-usa-v-mizuhara-complaint

(Reminder, this is the government accusation, which might not always be correct, but is a very useful insight into the kinds of things they looked at.)
Some of these text exchanges between Mizuhara and the bookies are WILD. Man this guy had a serious problem.

It's amazing so many of his attempts to wire from bank accounts, Paypal etc apparently got cancelled and no one asked any questions? Or was he lying about even trying to send them?

Just an insane story all the way around.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
25,961
Miami (oh, Miami!)
I wonder what that time frame was over for that 16 million.
Huh. That's weird. It looks like Ohtani's salary only went into this account. That would have been roughly $40M pre-witholdings at the end of 2023.

But between Feb-2022 and Oct-2023, Ohtani apparently never looked at his account and noticed it was down $15M? That's nuts.


The x5848 Account was held in the name of Victim A and was opened in or about March of 2018.

b. The x5848 Account was almost exclusively funded by deposits identified as payroll, in the name of a Major League Baseball (“MLB”) club located in Southern California, for which Victim A played baseball during this time period.

c. On November 15, 2021, the x5848 Account posted a debit transaction for $40,010 to Xoom.com, a PayPal service. Based on my training, experience, and knowledge of this investigation, I believe this was the first unauthorized wire transfer from the x5848 Account by MIZUHARA. Based on the timing and amount of this transfer, I believe it reflects the transaction discussed in the text message from MIZUHARA to BOOKMAKER 2 discussed above.

d. Between February 2022 and October 2023, the x5848 Account wired at least $15,000,000 to the x1911 Account. Certain of these wires coincided with communications between MIZUHARA and BOOKMAKER 1 where MIZUHARA stated that he (MIZUHARA) had recently wire transferred funds to the x1911 Account. For example:
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
14,186
"The 35966 Records reflect approximately 19,000 wagers between December 2021 and January 2024, and nearly 25 bets per day on average.

The wagers reflected in the 35966 Records ranged in value from roughly $10 to $160,000 per bet, with an average bet amount of roughly $12,800.

During this period, the 35966 Records reflect total winning bets of $142,256,769.74, and total losing bets of $182,935,206.68, leaving a total net balance of negative $40,678,436.94.

The 35966 Records do not reflect any bets on baseball games."



Now that gets an LOL from me.... Holy cow.
 

SemperFidelisSox

Member
SoSH Member
May 25, 2008
32,378
Boston, MA
The complaint mentioned that none of Ohtani’s agents, accountants or financial advisors speak Japanese, and the agency (CAA) doesn’t employ anyone who does.
 

Cotillion

New Member
Jun 11, 2019
5,412
It is absurd that the agent and other financial people let themselves get stonewalled by Ippei as the numbers grew to double digit millions.

At some point they have to get Ohtani in a room with a different interpreter to lay out what is going on and get his confirmation that he is authorizing it.
 

Jace II

no rules
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
778
I think it's more like $40M pre-tax. Call it $20M after taxes - so Ippei stole most of the money Shohei earned from the Angels.
Right, I meant how much money he'd made prior to the 2023 season ($30M salary in 2023, ~$10M in salaries prior to that, plus the $2.5M signing bonus), just for context on how this theft amount was potentially near to or more than Ohtani's entire net worth just several months earlier
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
27,738
Newton
So while this guy was running off with $16M, why did Ohtani’s people rush out to defend him at first and say Ohtani was just paying a friend’s debts?
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
5,674
Pittsburgh, PA
It is absurd that the agent and other financial people let themselves get stonewalled by Ippei as the numbers grew to double digit millions.

At some point they have to get Ohtani in a room with a different interpreter to lay out what is going on and get his confirmation that he is authorizing it.
They apparently never had access to that account, so didn't know the money was missing?
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,919
So while this guy was running off with $16M, why did Ohtani’s people rush out to defend him at first and say Ohtani was just paying a friend’s debts?
This is where I get lost. Sounds like his financial oversight was…poor. But the first story still confuses me.
 

Jace II

no rules
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
778
"The 35966 Records reflect approximately 19,000 wagers between December 2021 and January 2024, and nearly 25 bets per day on average.

The wagers reflected in the 35966 Records ranged in value from roughly $10 to $160,000 per bet, with an average bet amount of roughly $12,800.

During this period, the 35966 Records reflect total winning bets of $142,256,769.74, and total losing bets of $182,935,206.68, leaving a total net balance of negative $40,678,436.94.

The 35966 Records do not reflect any bets on baseball games."



Now that gets an LOL from me.... Holy cow.
So Mizuhara, after paying the stolen $16M of his $40M debt, was still $24M in the hole to the bookie?

I'm amazed an illegal bookmaking operation has the liquidity to allow someone to get that far in debt. No wonder the feds care, this must be a giant racket
 
Last edited:

Jace II

no rules
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
778
Huh. That's weird. It looks like Ohtani's salary only went into this account. That would have been roughly $40M pre-witholdings at the end of 2023.

But between Feb-2022 and Oct-2023, Ohtani apparently never looked at his account and noticed it was down $15M? That's nuts.
Pre-withholdings (California at the top tax bracket, so that's essentially 50% gone), pre-agent-cut, and pre-purchases. He must have bought some real estate, paid some limited salaries of his reps, maybe made some illiquid investments that couldn't easily be stolen, etc
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
2,594
Simi Valley, CA
My favorite part is the very end:

"On or about March 20, 2024, MIZUHARA messaged BOOKMAKER 1 stating, “Have you seen the reports?” BOOKMAKER 1 responded, “Yes, but that’s all bullshit. Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.” MIZUHARA then responded to BOOKMAKER 1, “Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me."
 

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
SoSH Member
Apr 3, 2001
45,205
Mtigawi
Even if all the deferred $ in the Dodger contract is coincidental and entirely unrelated to this very strange and getting stranger story.... have to imagine Mazuhara was not thrilled with that decision.

This guy apparently set up the account with all of Ohtani's MLB paycheck deposits (and had free reign to steal from it). He must have assumed the guy was going to be getting 50M/year (25M or so after tax), and all of a sudden the guy signs for 2M per year in 2024.
Maybe this is how it all started to come to light.

I picture him coming to the US where this dude is effectively his assistant. Ohtani grows in profile and it’s getting harder to stop people who are not him from accessing Ohtani’s account. He signs with the Dodgers for almost a billion dollars and I’d imagine his agent provides him services that help him invest his money. ‘Sorry only my interpreter has access to my account’ would absolutely raise red flags with any reasonable human.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
8,586
How do none of Ohtani’s financial people not notice that much money going out? Even if the translator said Shohei was cool with it, don’t they have some fiduciary responsibility to confirm it with him? Either they’re horrible at their jobs or he gave the go ahead.
80892
It appears as if none of Ohtani's agents/financial people in the US spoke Japanese, which essentially guaranteed that all communications with Ohtani would have to go through Ippei.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,975
AZ
With my lawyer hat on, I'd really be looking hard at professionals and the bank if I were inclined. Maybe Ohtani is just willing to let $16 million go but holy fuck it sounds like people were asleep at the switch. People who presumably were paid a lot of money to protect him. This is not some criminal mastermind here, and while the language difference is an explanation it is hardly an excuse for all the people that let him down. Did a CPA sign his return? If Ohtani really was oblivious, all of these folks were asleep at the switch.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
5,674
Pittsburgh, PA
With my lawyer hat on, I'd really be looking hard at professionals and the bank if I were inclined. Maybe Ohtani is just willing to let $16 million go but holy fuck it sounds like people were asleep at the switch. People who presumably were paid a lot of money to protect him. This is not some criminal mastermind here, and while the language difference is an explanation it is hardly an excuse for all the people that let him down. Did a CPA sign his return? If Ohtani really was oblivious, all of these folks were asleep at the switch.
Well, hold on. There's no reason to think he didn't provide a W-2 to his accountant. He wasn't claiming gambling losses or anything - why would his tax return be wrong?
 

Jace II

no rules
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
778
My favorite part is the very end:

"On or about March 20, 2024, MIZUHARA messaged BOOKMAKER 1 stating, “Have you seen the reports?” BOOKMAKER 1 responded, “Yes, but that’s all bullshit. Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.” MIZUHARA then responded to BOOKMAKER 1, “Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me."
This bookmaker actually seems pretty chill for a guy who does illegal things for a living and is owed tens of millions of now-unrecoverable dollars by someone being investigated by the feds
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,975
AZ
Well, hold on. There's no reason to think he didn't provide a W-2 to his accountant. He wasn't claiming gambling losses or anything - why would his tax return be wrong?
I don't think his tax return is wrong, I just don't understand how an accountant could sign a return that undoubtedly has some very complicated stuff on it without doing at least a little due diligence. He's filing in multiple states, I'm sure, and each likely has its own requirements for ascertaining income. I'm not a CPA so I don't know what their responsibilities are, but I would have thought that bank statements would have been part of what he would have expected to see to be able to say what his income was.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
5,674
Pittsburgh, PA
I don't think his tax return is wrong, I just don't understand how an accountant could sign a return that undoubtedly has some very complicated stuff on it without doing at least a little due diligence. He's filing in multiple states, I'm sure, and each likely has its own requirements for ascertaining income. I'm not a CPA so I don't know what their responsibilities are, but I would have thought that bank statements would have been part of what he would have expected to see to be able to say what his income was.
His W-2 income (which appears to be the only thing that went to this account) plus a record of where he played each game (which can be ascertained from Baseball Reference) would be the only thing necessary for this. There's also a pretty limited breadth of expenses you can deduct nowadays, so it'd be perfectly reasonable to rely on Ippei saying "that one's private, he doesn't make any charitable or otherwise deductible payments from there," I think.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
8,586
This is the gaffe of the century. Does this mean Ohtani was signing documents in English, a language he doesn't understand?
At the very least his US tax returns would be in English and likely his MLB/endorsement contracts in the US.

Well, hold on. There's no reason to think he didn't provide a W-2 to his accountant. He wasn't claiming gambling losses or anything - why would his tax return be wrong?
The indictment does say that the financial people reached out about the MLB deposit account, concerned that it would mess up his US taxes if the account was generating interest and/or for other tax related activities like charitable donations/gifts but that they ultimately only spoke to Ippei.
 

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
8,928
"During this period, the 35966 Records reflect total winning bets of $142,256,769.74, and total losing bets of $182,935,206.68, leaving a total net balance of negative $40,678,436.94.
The scale of this blows my mind. Even if the bookie believed it was Ohtani and not Ippei, how does any business let an individual run up $40 million in debt?
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
25,961
Miami (oh, Miami!)
Pre-withholdings (California at the top tax bracket, so that's essentially 50% gone), pre-agent-cut, and pre-purchases. He must have bought some real estate, paid some limited salaries of his reps, maybe made some illiquid investments that couldn't easily be stolen, etc
This is the part I'm having trouble squaring.

I know Ohtani had his endorsement income. For the sake of argument, let's call that enough to provide for his family and himself, plus pocket change. He's fine and not looking for money.

But he has a separate account with all of his MLB salary just randomly sitting in it.

Between 2018 and Oct 2021, there's no activity. Then between Feb and June of 2022, $2.1M goes out. At that point, prior to his 2023 earnings, that had to be a significant percentage of the balance.

Between Feb and October 2023, "at least" $15M is wired out. Again, that's got to be most of the balance of his 2023 salary?

Ohtani signs his contract with LA in the winter of 23. And by that time, his MLB earnings to date must be pretty well tapped out and gone. And after his mega-contract, his MLB earnings (mostly deferred) are still set up to roll into this account that he or nobody else has looked at?

This is discovered in March of 24.

Again, this is just weird. If you're managing someone's assets and know they're sitting on $20M in a private account. . .do you not make more of an effort than having the interpreter give you a one-liner that the account is "private?" (I mean, what if the lug-head has just put it in a common checking account or something?) If you're an accountant, do you sign off on a return that does not have some paperwork from the bank? (I'm not, but I'm guessing not.)

****

There are definitely a few things I'd want to look at as a defense attorney here. Mostly addressing silences or sharply drawn lines in the Aff. Like whether Mizuhara and the bookie discussed Ohtani (they appeared to) and what was said. I mean, one of the basic underlying facts here is the bookie let an interpreter churn multiple millions in bets and appeared to think Mizuhara was covering for Ohtani. Also whether the bank had an ap Ohtani could have used, sent out statements, issued a card he might have withdrawn cash with (and so checked his balance) - that sort of thing.

I don't think any of those things might be fatal to the overall picture pained by the Affidavit, and the baseball card trading certainly stands in Ohtani's favor.
 

Yaz4Ever

MemBer
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2004
11,342
MA-CA-RI-AZ-NC
View attachment 80892
It appears as if none of Ohtani's agents/financial people in the US spoke Japanese, which essentially guaranteed that all communications with Ohtani would have to go through Ippei.
That seems ridiculous to me. Not saying it isn’t true (I have no idea), but at least ONE of his advisors should have said “hey, we really should have another Japanese speaker present for some of this. Maybe Ippei is a moron who doesn’t understand what is being said and mistranslates things to our client. Maybe he’s corrupt. Maybe he’s too close and trusted by our client and a secondary person could assuage our concerns he might be mishandled through ineptitude or deception. After all, if he’s on the up-and-up, he shouldn’t be worried about someone being there to cross ts and dot I’s. Besides, what happens to our client if his only Japanese speaking buddy in all of these meetings/negotiations is sick, gets hit by a bus, quits, or has his thumbs cut off by underworld figures to whom he owes millions of dollars because he sucks at gambling (hypothetically).”

Then again, IANAL so what do I know?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,975
AZ
His W-2 income (which appears to be the only thing that went to this account) plus a record of where he played each game (which can be ascertained from Baseball Reference) would be the only thing necessary for this. There's also a pretty limited breadth of expenses you can deduct nowadays, so it'd be perfectly reasonable to rely on Ippei saying "that one's private, he doesn't make any charitable or otherwise deductible payments from there," I think.
I don't know what the standard of care is here and I don't even know if a CPA signed his return(s). But, dang, this just does not really sound kosher to me.

My guess is that Ohtani is going to want this to go away and he's not interested in discovery or litigation, but holy cow this doesn't pass the smell test to me. It's a bit too loosey goosey for the stakes.
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
2,594
Simi Valley, CA
Ohtani's agent is a guy names Nez Balelo: "Balelo currently heads up the Baseball division within CAA Sports. He has been responsible and a part of negotiating over $4 Billion Dollars worth of contracts while at CAA. He currently ranks on the Forbes Top 50 most powerful sports agents in the world list for 6th consecutive years."

Nobody at CAA can speak Japanese?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,975
AZ
This is the part I'm having trouble squaring.

I know Ohtani had his endorsement income. For the sake of argument, let's call that enough to provide for his family and himself, plus pocket change. He's fine and not looking for money.

But he has a separate account with all of his MLB salary just randomly sitting in it.

Between 2018 and Oct 2021, there's no activity. Then between Feb and June of 2022, $2.1M goes out. At that point, prior to his 2023 earnings, that had to be a significant percentage of the balance.

Between Feb and October 2023, "at least" $15M is wired out. Again, that's got to be most of the balance of his 2023 salary?

Ohtani signs his contract with LA in the winter of 23. And by that time, his MLB earnings to date must be pretty well tapped out and gone. And after his mega-contract, his MLB earnings (mostly deferred) are still set up to roll into this account that he or nobody else has looked at?

This is discovered in March of 24.

Again, this is just weird. If you're managing someone's assets and know they're sitting on $20M in a private account. . .do you not make more of an effort than having the interpreter give you a one-liner that the account is "private?" (I mean, what if the lug-head has just put it in a common checking account or something?) If you're an accountant, do you sign off on a return that does not have some paperwork from the bank? (I'm not, but I'm guessing not.)

****

There are definitely a few things I'd want to look at as a defense attorney here. Mostly addressing silences or sharply drawn lines in the Aff. Like whether Mizuhara and the bookie discussed Ohtani (they appeared to) and what was said. I mean, one of the basic underlying facts here is the bookie let an interpreter churn multiple millions in bets and appeared to think Mizuhara was covering for Ohtani. Also whether the bank had an ap Ohtani could have used, sent out statements, issued a card he might have withdrawn cash with (and so checked his balance) - that sort of thing.

I don't think any of those things might be fatal to the overall picture pained by the Affidavit, and the baseball card trading certainly stands in Ohtani's favor.
RR -- what are your thoughts about the affidavit. I don't see these documents, but one thing that struck me is that it is very detailed for the charge. This is a bank fraud case. This is not a theft case (and I don't think that would be a federal charge anyway). The paragraphs in the indictment related to bank fraud could take up a page or two pages to establish the elements. There seems to be a fair amount of detail in here designed almost to be a press release to exonerate "Victim A" from inquiry. It doesn't need to be there. Is that a thing? I mean, I think if you're a responsible prosecutor and know you have a high visibility case and want to be sure that people don't get the wrong impression about the victim, that's a responsible thing to do. I didn't know that AUSA types give a shit. Maybe they are baseball fans? Anyway, it just struck me weird. They have him on bank fraud pretty easily. I guess the rest kind of goes to show that his representations were false, but it sure is a lot more than is needed.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
8,586
Ohtani's agent is a guy names Nez Balelo: "Balelo currently heads up the Baseball division within CAA Sports. He has been responsible and a part of negotiating over $4 Billion Dollars worth of contracts while at CAA. He currently ranks on the Forbes Top 50 most powerful sports agents in the world list for 6th consecutive years."

Nobody at CAA can speak Japanese?
I'm sure there are plenty, but it also makes sense that Balelo probably handled Ohtani's account more or less personally.

I wouldn't be surprised if all this ultimately led to some formal rules regarding interpreters in the next CBA.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
25,961
Miami (oh, Miami!)
RR -- what are your thoughts about the affidavit. I don't see these documents, but one thing that struck me is that it is very detailed for the charge. This is a bank fraud case. This is not a theft case (and I don't think that would be a federal charge anyway). The paragraphs in the indictment related to bank fraud could take up a page or two pages to establish the elements. There seems to be a fair amount of detail in here designed almost to be a press release to exonerate "Victim A" from inquiry. It doesn't need to be there. Is that a thing? I mean, I think if you're a responsible prosecutor and know you have a high visibility case and want to be sure that people don't get the wrong impression about the victim, that's a responsible thing to do. I didn't know that AUSA types give a shit. Maybe they are baseball fans? Anyway, it just struck me weird. They have him on bank fraud pretty easily. I guess the rest kind of goes to show that his representations were false, but it sure is a lot more than is needed.
Hmm. Well, first off, what you're saying is, I think, a very good read on this. The investigative team is convinced of Ohtani's innocence, and the affidavit is carefully crafted to convey that opinion. Nice to be famous, I guess.

I'm generally a bit skeptical about the Feds getting things absolutely right or including every single potentially exculpatory fact. And just based on the aff, there's a lot to consider in terms of investigating potential defenses. Narrow framing always gets my attention. Maybe it turns out the Aff is far more right than wrong, but the way this is written suggests several things to look for.

PS - Totally with you on the tax return/CPA/oversight issue. There are a few things like that here.
 

Oil Can Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2003
8,209
0-3 to 4-3
I'm no tin foil hat guy but I'm having a very hard time buying this story. The interpreter makes like $300k per year. On what planet does a bookmaking operation accept millions of dollars of bets from someone making $300k?

Oh, he turned over his cell phone and there's no communication evidence on that cell phone? Must be exonerated then because there's no way he could have pulled off 25 bets a day without texting it to the guy that's with him 24/7.

I'm beyond skeptical.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
14,186
I'm no tin foil hat guy but I'm having a very hard time buying this story. The interpreter makes like $300k per year. On what planet does a bookmaking operation accept millions of dollars of bets from someone making $300k?

Oh, he turned over his cell phone and there's no communication evidence on that cell phone? Must be exonerated then because there's no way he could have pulled off 25 bets a day without texting it to the guy that's with him 24/7.

I'm beyond skeptical.
It's pretty clear the bookmakers knew this guy was Ohtani's interpreter, not some random guy making 300k per year.

From their perspective either:

1. Ohtani was making the bets through the interpreter
OR
2. The interpreter was stealing the money from Ohtani


The were getting paid either way.
 

Adirondack jack

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 24, 2008
1,589
Shohei isn't exactly filing a short-form tax return. If a cpa didnt file his tax returns it would be about the 3rd or 4th most shocking thing coming out from this story.

A major league baseball player earns money in several states (however many states are home to a professional baseball team) which requires Shohei to file a 1040 and about 15-20 separate state income tax returns.

Your typical hr block agent prolly isn't typically pushing out taxes like that on the regular. Maybe the translator was moonlighting as his accountant too.

Something is rotten in denmark
 

Oil Can Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2003
8,209
0-3 to 4-3
It's pretty clear the bookmakers knew this guy was Ohtani's interpreter, not some random guy making 300k per year.

From their perspective either:

1. Ohtani was making the bets through the interpreter
OR
2. The interpreter was stealing the money from Ohtani


The were getting paid either way.
I agree 100%. Which is to say that to me, only #1 is viable, unless you think this bookmaking operation was just counting on this interpreter guy's ability to successfully steal $40m of Ohtani's money.

It's all a bunch of complete bullshit. The only thing that makes any sense at all is that Ohtani's the gambler.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
25,961
Miami (oh, Miami!)
I'm no tin foil hat guy but I'm having a very hard time buying this story. The interpreter makes like $300k per year. On what planet does a bookmaking operation accept millions of dollars of bets from someone making $300k?

Oh, he turned over his cell phone and there's no communication evidence on that cell phone? Must be exonerated then because there's no way he could have pulled off 25 bets a day without texting it to the guy that's with him 24/7.

I'm beyond skeptical.
Yeah, that's one example of suggestive/tight fact-framing in an aff. "9,700 pages of text messages between Victim A and MIZUHARA between 2020 and 2024."

Sounds important, but how many messages to a "page?" 1 to a page (which I've seen) is 10K texts over 3.3 years for 8 texts a day. 2 to a page is is 16 a day. 5 gets you 40, which is more chatty-kathy territory, and may start to have some weight. But even then, people often text their SO a lot on a fairly narrow band of issues/topics.

But are they evenly distributed, or do they bunch when someone is traveling? Covid spike? What's the general tone and context - business routinely conducted or mostly inspirational kitten gifs? Have any texts been deleted by one or the other party?

All those sorts of things make the bare fact more or less probative.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
34,468
I agree 100%. Which is to say that to me, only #1 is viable, unless you think this bookmaking operation was just counting on this interpreter guy's ability to successfully steal $40m of Ohtani's money.

It's all a bunch of complete bullshit. The only thing that makes any sense at all is that Ohtani's the gambler.
Why would the feds sweep any Ohtani involvement under the rug?
 

Gdiguy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
6,402
San Diego, CA
The amount of conspiracy theory searching in this thread is really kind of crazy... so now in addition to MLB, the FBI is also trying to hide Ohtani's gambling?

Some of you think way too highly of how rich people handle stuff - based on my dealings with a few 'wealthy' people I'm not at all surprised by this, and sports figures are even worse at trusting ill-equipped and inexperienced people with their finances. And I can easily imagine agents don't want to know where their clients money is going - do you think an agent wants to even accidentally learn their clients are buying drugs or all sorts of other illegal stuff? Even if Ohtani was actually betting, why in the world would his agent want to learn this? He's their client, not their child
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
25,961
Miami (oh, Miami!)
It's pretty clear the bookmakers knew this guy was Ohtani's interpreter, not some random guy making 300k per year.

From their perspective either:

1. Ohtani was making the bets through the interpreter
OR
2. The interpreter was stealing the money from Ohtani


The were getting paid either way.
Well, we don't really have a timeline of how those losses piled up. But my guess (feel free to correct) is:

Mizuhara starts gambling with the bookie in Sept '21.
Sept-Nov '21 are a bunch of attempted payment fiascos for payments of $50K or so. One or two? payments of $40K come from Ohtani's account
Feb '22 to Oct '23 sees $15M leave Ohtani's account, but they're not very specific as to what went when, except to align some with Mizuhara's texts.
Feb 1 and Feb 4 of '22 there are texts about multiple $300K transfers.
The aff alleges May and June '22 transfers of $500K from Ohtani's account.

--I think this is the point, June of '22, where the bookie had to be fairly sure he was dealing with Ohtani, not Mizuhara. $1M to $1.7M is a lot of spare change.

Half of Ohtani's career earnings in early '22 (including his signing bonus) would be something like $3M, up to something like $6M at the end of '22. So I think that's suggestive he was draining the account as it filled. In '23 Ohtani had a $30M contract and that's when we start to see the $500K a week transfer talk.


There is this as well:
The x5848 Account was almost exclusively funded by deposits identified as payroll, in the name of a Major League Baseball (“MLB”) club located in Southern California, for which Victim A played baseball during this time period. x5848 Account was almost exclusively funded by deposits identified as payroll, in the name of a Major League Baseball (“MLB”) club located in Southern California, for which Victim A played baseball during this time period.
Which means it was funded by something else as well. So perhaps not quite a black-hole "sock it away and forget about it" account to Ohtani?
 

DukeSox

absence hasn't made the heart grow fonder
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2005
11,775
How do none of Ohtani’s financial people not notice that much money going out? Even if the translator said Shohei was cool with it, don’t they have some fiduciary responsibility to confirm it with him? Either they’re horrible at their jobs or he gave the go ahead.
Must have been banking with Morgan Stanley
 

Average Reds

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
35,620
Southwestern CT
The amount of conspiracy theory searching in this thread is really kind of crazy... so now in addition to MLB, the FBI is also trying to hide Ohtani's gambling?
Agree with this.

Though it’s unusual, I could see the FBI taking great pains to make it clear that Ohtani is a victim, rather than a perpetrator. There is no way (IMO) that the FBI would hide gambling by Ohtani.

Some of you think way too highly of how rich people handle stuff - based on my dealings with a few 'wealthy' people I'm not at all surprised by this, and sports figures are even worse at trusting ill-equipped and inexperienced people with their finances. And I can easily imagine agents don't want to know where their clients money is going - do you think an agent wants to even accidentally learn their clients are buying drugs or all sorts of other illegal stuff? Even if Ohtani was actually betting, why in the world would his agent want to learn this? He's their client, not their child
Companies like CAA provide financial services for their high-profile clients because it is in their interest to protect the client. Almost as if he/she is their child. ;)

It’s not unusual for clients to say “No, I’ll handle that myself.” It’s incredibly unusual, bordering on malpractice, for a client to be surrounded by a team of advisors who accept that an interpreter is acting as the de facto CFO of all things Ohtani because no one understands Japanese. And yet, we appear to be here.

It’s truly astonishing.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
8,586
Well, we don't really have a timeline of how those losses piled up. But my guess (feel free to correct) is:

Mizuhara starts gambling with the bookie in Sept '21.
Sept-Nov '21 are a bunch of attempted payment fiascos for payments of $50K or so. One or two? payments of $40K come from Ohtani's account
Feb '22 to Oct '23 sees $15M leave Ohtani's account, but they're not very specific as to what went when, except to align some with Mizuhara's texts.
Feb 1 and Feb 4 of '22 there are texts about multiple $300K transfers.
The aff alleges May and June '22 transfers of $500K from Ohtani's account.

--I think this is the point, June of '22, where the bookie had to be fairly sure he was dealing with Ohtani, not Mizuhara. $1M to $1.7M is a lot of spare change.

Half of Ohtani's career earnings in early '22 (including his signing bonus) would be something like $3M, up to something like $6M at the end of '22. So I think that's suggestive he was draining the account as it filled. In '23 Ohtani had a $30M contract and that's when we start to see the $500K a week transfer talk.


There is this as well:


Which means it was funded by something else as well. So perhaps not quite a black-hole "sock it away and forget about it" account to Ohtani?
I wonder if the extra funds would be bonuses from winning MVP, Silver Slugger etc.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
8,586
I agree 100%. Which is to say that to me, only #1 is viable, unless you think this bookmaking operation was just counting on this interpreter guy's ability to successfully steal $40m of Ohtani's money.

It's all a bunch of complete bullshit. The only thing that makes any sense at all is that Ohtani's the gambler.
I get being skeptical, but why would Mizuhara agree to be the middleman? There’s no benefit to him. Sure, Ohtani could have him fired as the interpreter if he doesn’t cooperate, but Mizuhara could turn around and immediately expose him as a degenerate gambler.