Former Angels Player Tied to Mizuhara Bookmaker

Fletcher spent six seasons in Anaheim as a teammate of Shohei Ohtani.

Matt MacKay - News Editor at
Matt MacKay • News Editor
May 18, 2024 • 16:43 ET • 4 min read
David Fletcher Los Angeles Angels MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Another shoe has dropped in the Shohei Ohtani/Ippei Mizuhara scandal.

On Friday, an ESPN report by Tisha Thompson revealed that former Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher allegedly placed bets at the same illegal bookmaker in Southern California where Ippei Mizuhara placed his wagers. Mizuhara is Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter who has become embroiled in a massive betting scandal, siphoning roughly $17 million from the superstar baseball player’s bank accounts. 

Recently, Mizuhara pleaded not guilty to federal charges after the theft he committed against Ohtani to fuel his gambling addiction with bookmaker Mathew Bowyer. However, the 39-year-old Mizuhara is set to agree to plead guilty at a future undisclosed date as part of a plea deal with federal authorities.

Fletcher’s relationship with Bowyer

Fletcher currently plays second base for the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, the Gwinnett Stripers, but previously played for the Los Angeles Angels from 2018 to 2023, where he had a close relationship with Ohtani. Fletcher and another close friend, Colby Schultz, who spent time playing in Kansas City’s farm system from 2018 to 2020, allegedly placed bets at Mathew Bowyer’s bookmaking operation in Southern California. 

According to multiple sources, Fletcher did not place bets on baseball but did wager on other sports betting markets. Schultz is alleged to have placed bets on baseball with Bowyer’s operation, which includes Angels games that Fletcher played in while he was rostered on the team. 

Fletcher told ESPN sources that he had met Bowyer during a golf outing and that he was aware of his bookmaking operation during a 2021 poker game held in San Diego. However, Fletcher has stated that he never placed a bet himself with Bowyer’s organization. 

This 2021 poker event was held at the Angels’ team hotel and Bowyer gained entry through an acquaintance of Fletcher. Mizuhara had his first encounter with Bowyer during this poker game, ultimately leading to the interpreter sending millions of dollars stolen from Ohtani’s bank accounts via wire transfer. 

During a federal complaint filed against Mizuhara, authorities say Bowyer sent Mizuhara’s wire information to an associate known as “Bookmaker 3.” Per ESPN sources, Schultz is allegedly Bookmaker 3.

NBA and MLB betting scandals

Mizuhara’s alleged theft of approximately $17 million from Ohtani’s bank accounts is one of two betting scandals to hit professional sports leagues in the United States this season. 

Jontay Porter, who disclosed his health status to an NBA bettor before playing only three minutes in a game due to an illness, wound up being permanently banned from the NBA due to his actions. An $80,000 under parlay on Porter was flagged by a licensed sportsbook operator and frozen, never leading to the $1.1 million payout.

In the MLB, players and employees are allowed to bet on sports that aren’t baseball, but do not permit wagering at illegal bookmakers like Bowyer’s operation. Players betting with illegal bookmakers are subject to punishment at the discretion of the commissioner. A player who bets on baseball games in which he didn’t participate results in a one-year ban, while a player who bets on his own baseball games receives a permanent ban.

Thus, Fletcher, who reportedly didn’t bet on baseball, but did wager at Bowyer’s illegal bookmaking operation, is now expected to be under investigation by the MLB. 

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