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Report: MLB probing alleged illegal bets by ex-Angels player


Major League Baseball has opened an investigation into allegations that former Angels infielder David Fletcher placed bets with a Southern California bookie, believed to be the same one who took millions of dollars in wagers from Dodger Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter, it was reported today.

A league source told ESPN that an internal investigation is underway into claims that Fletcher placed bets on sports -- but not baseball -- with alleged Orange County bookmaker Mathew Bowyer.

Fletcher told ESPN in March that he was present at a 2021 poker game in San Diego where Ohtani's former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, first met Bowyer. Fletcher said at the time that he had never placed a bet with Bowyer or his organization.

Bowyer is under federal investigation. His San Juan Capistrano home was searched by federal agents last year.  

According to ESPN, MLB officials will likely ask to interview Fletcher, although he could decline to participate if he claims he might be subject to a criminal investigation. The report noted that a player who bets on baseball could be banned for life, but if he only placed illegal bets on other sports, he would likely only face a fine.   

Fletcher currently plays for the Atlanta Braves' Triple-A affiliate but was a teammate of Ohtani with the Angeles from 2018 to 2023.   

According to ESPN, Fletcher and his close friend Colby Schultz both allegedly placed bets with Bowyer. Schultz is alleged to have placed bets on baseball, including Angels games in which Fletcher played. Neither Fletcher nor Schultz have commented to ESPN on the report.

Mizuhara is expected to plead guilty June 4 in Santa Ana federal court to charges of stealing nearly $17 million from Ohtani's bank account to pay off illegal gambling debts. He has agreed to plead guilty to one federal count each of bank fraud and subscribing to a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The bank fraud charge carries a possible prison term of up to 30 years, while the tax charge carries up to three years in federal prison.

Article Topic Follows: California

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