Former Interpreter Accused of Stealing Over $16 Million from MLB Superstar Shohei Ohtani

Federal authorities have accused Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, of stealing over $16 million from the baseball player to pay off gambling debts.

According to a complaint filed by federal authorities, Mizuhara, 39, is facing charges of bank fraud, which can carry a maximum fine of $1 million and up to 30 years in prison. US Attorney Martin Estrada emphasized that Ohtani is considered a victim in the case, with no evidence that the MLB player had any knowledge of Mizuhara’s gambling activities or the unauthorized use of his bank account.

Investigators allege that Mizuhara, who had been Ohtani’s interpreter since 2018, used his position of trust to gain access to the player’s bank account and transfer funds to pay off debts to an illegal sports bookmaker. Text messages and bank records show that Mizuhara placed thousands of bets, ranging from $10 to $160,000, resulting in over $183 million in losses.

The complaint further outlines Mizuhara’s attempts to obtain more credit from the bookmaker, going as far as falsely identifying himself as Ohtani to trick bank employees into authorizing transfers. One specific transfer of $500,000 to an associate of the bookmaker is cited in the filing.

Ohtani, who was unaware of the theft, first learned of the situation during a team meeting after the Dodgers’ season opener in Seoul, South Korea, where Mizuhara addressed the team and admitted to his gambling addiction.

The investigation is part of a larger probe into illegal sports bookmaking operations and money laundering in Southern California, leading to charges or convictions against 12 individuals, including former minor league player Wayne Nix and NBA legend Scottie Pippen.

Mizuhara is expected to appear in court on Friday, with authorities stating that he will likely be released on bond and not expected to enter a plea during the hearing. The case has garnered significant public interest, with the US Attorney’s Office emphasizing the need for a swift investigation.

Information for this story was found via ESPN, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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