“What About My Case … I’m Also The Victim Of Fraud?”: With Official Closing Of Shohei Ohtani Interpreter Gambling Scandal, Trevor Bauer Wants His Life Back Too

The Shohei Ohtani gambling scandal and investigation that rocked the early part of the MLB season and overshadowed his $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers is now closed and Ohtani has been fully exonerated. 

According to a Tweet by baseball writer Ben Verlander:  

“Ippei Mizuhara has officially plead guilty to bank and tax fraud charges today. 

He faces up to 33 years in prison. This officially closes the investigation on Shohei Ohtani who is now considered a victim of fraud. 

Based on the thoroughness of the federal investigation that was made public, the information MLB collected, and the criminal proceeding being resolved without being contested, MLB considers Shohei Ohtani a victim of fraud and this matter has been closed.”

The consequences for Ohtani could have been catastrophic. The recent lifetime ban of four players for gambling gives some insight into what Ohtani would have faced if found to be complicit in his interpreter’s gambling. 

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano has been permanently banned from Major League Baseball after violating the league’s gambling policy, MLB announced on Tuesday. 

Marcano’s ban was accompanied by one-year suspensions for four other players: Oakland Athletics reliever Michael Kelly and minor-league players Jay Groome (Padres), José Rodríguez (Philadelphia Phillies) and Andrew Saalfrank (Arizona Diamondbacks).

MLB reportedly received data from a legal sports betting operator concerning baseball gambling activity from accounts that belonged to the above players, the league announced.

Trevor Bauer Is Still Fighting To Get Back In MLB

Everyone in the baseball world seems very relieved and content to get this potential firestorm of a scandal behind them – except former Cy Young pitcher Trevor Bauer who is still fighting to get back to MLB after battling various charges that involved sexually assaulting women.  Bauer was never criminally charged with anything, and the investigations provided evidence that he was being set up by one of his accusers. 

Bauer tweeted under Verlander’s post: 

What about my case, where I also was never charged with anything, and where I’m also the victim of fraud? Why am I not allowed to go back to playing?

An indictment unsealed in April in Maricopa County Superior Court charged an unnamed woman with fraud and theft by extortion. It says Bauer and one other person were defrauded by a woman in a scheme that potentially spanned several years.

Darcy Adanna Esemonu — who sued Bauer and allegedly demanded $1.6 million after claiming he impregnated her — was charged with one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

Darcy Adanna Esemonu — who sued Bauer and allegedly demanded $1.6 million after claiming he impregnated her — was charged with one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices on Monday. (IG/YouTube)

Bauer and another man were listed as the alleged victims in the case weeks after a grand jury handed down the indictment. She was also charged with theft by extortion, but only against the other alleged victim.

The woman sued Bauer in December 2022, accusing him of rape two years earlier that she said resulted in pregnancy in late 2020.

Bauer Battling Several Accusations

Back in October of 2023, Bauer and Lindsey Hill, the San Diego woman who first accused him of sexual assault, which led to an unprecedented 324-game suspension from Major League Baseball, settled their civil lawsuits outside of court, with no money exchanged between the two parties. 

But Bauer kept alleged receipts, and in a video posted to social media he points to an alleged extortion attempt by Hill. 

Bauer Has Alleged Receipts

In the video Bauer gave the reasons why he agreed to settle with the Hill. He revealed text messages allegedly exchanged between Hill and her friends, which Bauer claims as proof that Hill plotted to extort him. Of the alleged messages from Hill stated, “Need daddy to choke me out,” another “Being an absolute WHORE to try to get in on his $51 million.”

Hill accused Bauer of sexually assaulting her during two encounters in the spring of 2021. She was later denied a permanent restraining order in Los Angeles Superior Court, and the district attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges against Bauer. But MLB decided to suspend Bauer anyway.

Bauer sued Hill for defamation in April 2022, and she countersued for sexual battery four months later. Court proceedings were scheduled to begin in February, but both sides agreed to drop their respective cases.

Hill will receive $300,000 in insurance policy proceeds that will be sent in a trust account to her lawyers’ offices, according to an email from Hill’s lawyers that was provided by a representative with Bauer.

“Trevor Bauer and Lindsey Hill have settled all outstanding litigation,” Bauer’s attorneys, Jon Fetterolf and Shawn Holley, wrote in a statement on Monday. “Both of their respective claims have been withdrawn with prejudice, effective today. Mr. Bauer did not make — and never has made — any payments to Ms. Hill, including to resolve their litigation. With this matter now at rest, Mr. Bauer can focus completely on baseball.”

He Said She Said

Bauer also alleged in the YouTube video that Hill’s legal team approached him “multiple times” about a financial settlement that his side consistently declined. 

“Over the last two years, I’ve been forced to defend my integrity and my reputation in a very public setting, but hopefully this is the last time I have to do so, as I’d prefer to just remain focused on doing my job, winning baseball games and entertaining fans around the world,” Bauer said in his video. “So today, I’m happy to be moving on with my life,” Bauer said.

Despite what appeared as vindication, Bauer is still jobless, as no team, no matter how undermanned their pitching staff is will touch Bauer, who continues to maintain his innocence and question MLB’s treatment of him. 

What Did Mizuhara Do?

Mizuhara had been the subject of a massive investigation that started in April. He previously pleaded not guilty in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom in early May. 

His denial kept whispers and rumors that Ohtani might be directly involved alive, although both said Ohtani had no idea of what his friend was doing with his money. 

The Department of Justice said in May that Mizuhara, 39, agreed to plead guilty to two federal charges  (one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return) for illegally stealing almost $17 million from the baseball star’s bank account.

Ohtani accused Mizuhara of massive theft in March, leading to a federal investigation. It was discovered that Mizuhara set up a bank account for Ohtani’s baseball salary deposits, had full access, and even impersonated Ohtani to swindle funds from the account.

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara soon after news of the criminal investigation broke. 

What Did Investigation Find? 

The investigation found that since 2021, Mizuhara had made thousands of sports wagers, but not on baseball.

Martin Estrada, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, told reporters Mizuhara “took advantage of his friend, the person who had given him an opportunity.” 

“He stole money from Mr. Ohtani to pay for his own dental expenses,” Estrada said. 

The Dodgers released a statement following Mizuhara’s guilty plea, saying the team was focused on moving forward with the case resolved:

“With today’s plea in the criminal proceedings against Ippei Mizuhara and the conclusion of both the federal and MLB investigations, the Dodgers are pleased that Shoehi and the team can put this entire matter behind them and move forward in pursuit of a World Series title.”

“I am very saddened and shocked someone whom I trusted has done this,” the Japanese baseball star said through his new interpreter after the news broke. “Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has been telling lies. … I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker.”

Mizuhara was also accused of filing a false tax return in 2022 when he claimed to make $136,865 but earned more than $4.1 million from his bank fraud. In addition to gambling payments, prosecutors also allege that Mizuhara took more than $60,000 to fund personal dental work and purchase $325,000 worth of baseball cards. 

The way Ohtani escaped clean has clearly angered Bauer more, who claims that he was also a victim of fraud but never offered the same grace or thorough investigation. 

Bauer is venting, but he knows that his case is extremely different from Ohtani’s. Bauer is claiming to be a victim, but despite him not facing any criminal charges and it being revealed that he was being swindled at some point, the detail of the case and the political temperature of his situation has made him untouchable.

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