Ippei Mizuhara wired Shohei Ohtani's money to 'Real Housewives' star

ByTisha Thompson ESPN logo
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Ryan Boyajian, a current cast member of Bravo's reality TV series "The Real Housewives of Orange County," is the bookmaker's associate to whom Ippei Mizuhara wired money to pay his gambling debts, multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation told ESPN.

Mizuhara is accused of stealing $16 million from Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani to feed what Mizuhara described to ESPN as a gambling addiction. His arraignment has been rescheduled to May 14.

As first reported by ESPN, and later detailed in the criminal complaint against Mizuhara, Mathew Bowyer, the illegal bookmaker under investigation, told the interpreter he could pay his gambling debts by wiring money into the account of Bowyer's associate, known in the complaint as "Associate 1."

That associate is Boyajian, who used the account with Bowyer for their real estate projects, according to the sources. Boyajian, 47, and Bowyer, 49, have been close friends and business associates for nearly 20 years. When Bowyer declared bankruptcy in 2011, court records show Boyajian loaned him $245,000.

Steven Katzman, Boyajian's criminal attorney, told ESPN that Boyajian is working with federal authorities.

"Because there is an active investigation and Ryan is working with the authorities, he can't confirm or deny what is going on," Katzman told ESPN. "He is not a bookmaker or a sub-bookie."

Multiple sources said Boyajian has received immunity in return for his testimony.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California could not be reached for comment. The IRS Criminal Investigation's Los Angeles office declined to comment.

Multiple sources said Boyajian was often seen gambling with Bowyer at Resorts World Las Vegas and other casinos on the Vegas strip. In return, Bowyer and Boyajian received high-end "comps" through their casino host, who earned money in commission based on how much they gambled. The comps included free food and beverage, golf, tickets to shows and sporting events, shopping sprees, hotel suites and promo chips.

Sources told ESPN that Mizuhara paid his losses to Boyajian, who forwarded the money to his own "marker" accounts at Resorts World and Pechanga Resort Casino in Southern California. Boyajian and Bowyer then withdrew the chips from the marker accounts, gambled with them and if they won, cashed out.

Bowyer has not been named in any indictment unsealed to date. Bowyer's attorney declined to comment.

ESPN reported last week that Resorts World is at the center of what federal authorities described in an affidavit 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." Twelve people have been charged or convicted to date, and two Vegas casinos have agreed to pay fines, according to the affidavit. Resorts World was served a federal subpoena last August that sought, among other things, documents related to its anti-money laundering policies.

A spokesperson for Resorts World told ESPN the casino does not comment on ongoing legal matters. "Resorts World Las Vegas takes any suggestion of violations seriously and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation," the spokesperson said.

Scott Sibella, the former president of Resorts World, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles to 12 months probation, a $9,500 fine and 200 hours of community service. He pleaded guilty to a charge that, as president of MGM Grand, he failed to file suspicious activity reports about another Southern California bookie, Wayne Nix.

ESPN's Paula Lavigne contributed to this report.

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