Shohei Ohtani’s Ex-Interpreter Will Plead Guilty In Betting Case

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Shohei Ohtani Ex-Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Will Plead Guilty In Betting Case

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, has agreed to plead guilty to bank and tax fraud in a sports betting case in which prosecutors allege he stole about $17 million from the Japanese pitcher to pay off gambling debts, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Ippei Mizuhara will plead guilty to one count of bank fraud, one count of subscribing to a false tax return

Mizuhara, 39, will plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return, the U.S. Justice Department announced. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum of 30 years in federal prison, and the false tax return charge carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison.

The plea agreement says Mizuhara will be required to pay Ohtani restitution that could total almost $17 million, along with more than $1 million to the IRS.

According to the court report, he filed a false tax return for 2022 showing $136.86 million in revenue when he actually made more than $4.1 million. He owes $1.14 million in unpaid taxes to the federal government.

Furthermore, Mizuhara began wagering large bets with an unlicensed sportsbook in September 2021, authorities said. This led to him owing millions of dollars after repeated gambling losses.

“Unable to pay his gambling debts, Mizuhara orchestrated a scheme to deceive and cheat the bank to fraudulently obtain money from,” Ohtani’s prosecutors said in a statement.

Mizuhara used Ohtani’s password to access his bank account, without his knowledge or permission, prosecutors said.

“Specifically, Mizuhara changed the registered email address and telephone number on the account so bank employees would call him — not Ohtani — when attempting to verify wire transfers from the account,” federal authorities added.

Mizuhara transferred $500,000 from the bank account of Shohei Ohtani, stole $325,000 to buy baseball cards

Moreover, Mizuhara transferred $500,000 from Shohei Ohtani’s account to an associate of the bookmaker.

In September, Mizuhara needed $60,000 worth of dental work. Ohtani agreed to pay for his dental expenses with a check. However, when the bill came, Mizuhara used Ohtani’s debit card account and kept the money from the check for himself.

Additionally, Mizuhara stole $325,000 from Ohtani’s bank account to buy baseball cards over three months. His plan was to resell them for a profit, according to prosecutors.

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is massive,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “He took advantage of his position of trust to take advantage of Mr. Shohei Ohtani and fuel a dangerous gambling habit.”

Mizuhara will enter his guilty plea in the coming weeks and is set to be arraigned May 14.

According to sources, he has been free on an unsecured $25,000 bond. Of course, this is known as a signature bond, meaning he did not have to pay cash or collateral to be freed. It is a promise signed by the freed person to appear in court.