Shohei Ohtani's Former Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Charged With Bank Fraud, Allegedly Stole $16 Million From Dodgers Star

Mizuhara was fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers last month over claims of gambling-related theft.

Two baseball players in Dodgers uniforms walking on the field, one carrying a bat
Christian Petersen via Getty Images
Two baseball players in Dodgers uniforms walking on the field, one carrying a bat

Shohei Ohtani's interpreter Ippei Muzhara has been charged with bank fraud, ESPN's Alden González reports.

Ippei Mizuhara, Shohei Ohtani's longtime interpreter and confidant, has been charged with bank fraud after it was discovered he transferred more than $16M from Ohtani's account to an alleged illegal sports book, federal authorities announced in L.A. court.

— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) April 11, 2024
Twitter: @Alden_Gonzalez

Ohtani's longtime interpreter allegedly stole $16 million from Ohtani's bank account and wired it to an "alleged illegal sports book." During a news conference in Los Angeles, United States attorney Martin Estrada said Mizuhara used the money "largely to finance his voracious appetite for illegal sports gambling." He added, however, that the bets "do not appear to have been made on the sport of baseball."

Estrada said there's "no indication" Ohtani authorized the wiring of $16 million from his account. He was initially believed to have stolen approximately $4.5 million. "Mr. Ohtani is considered a victim in this case,” Estrada said. “There is no evidence that Mr. Ohtani authorized the transfers to the bookmakers.”

In court documents, texts froim Mizihura show what is essentially an admission of guilt.

A seeming confession from Ippei Mizuhara, via text to a bookmaker, on the day @TishaESPN's story ran.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 11, 2024
Twitter: @JeffPassan

The documents also show that he lost bets of nearly $183 million.

Two important elements from the complaint against Ippei Mizuhara.

1) The size of his bets -- and the debt he allegedly incurred -- were massive: losing bets of nearly $183 million, winning bets of more than $142 million and $40.7 million in losses.

2) No bets on baseball.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 11, 2024
Twitter: @JeffPassan

Authorities discovered that the bets were placed between 2021 and 2024. The maximum sentence for bank fraud is 30 years in prison, but prior to the news of the charge, The New York Times reported that Mizuhara was negotiating a guilty plea. He is expected to be arraigned in federal court on Friday, April 12.

The charge comes less than a month after the Los Angeles Dodgers fired him. In a press conference last month, Ohtani delivered a statement in Japanese and made it clear he had no prior knowledge of the theft. "I'm very saddened and shocked that someone I trusted has done this," said the 29-year-old slugger. He added that he has "never bet on baseball or any other sports" and "never asked anybody to do that on my behalf."

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