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Ippei Mizuhara departs federal court after his arraignment in Los Angeles, California, on May 14, 2024. Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter, Mizuhara, has agreed to plead guilty over charges of illegally transferring nearly $17 million from the baseball star’s bank account in order to pay off gambling debts. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
3:09 PM – Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud on Tuesday and admitted to stealing nearly $17 million from the Japanese phenom to pay off sports betting debts. 

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He entered his guilty plea on Tuesday in federal court in Santa Ana, California. 

Ohtani’s ex-interpreter had exploited his personal and professional relationship with the baseball player to take massive amounts of money from the two-way player’s account for years, at times impersonating Ohtani to bankers. 

On May 5th, Mizuhara signed a plea agreement that detailed the allegations and prosecutors announced it several days later. 

Mizuhara’s winning bets totaled over $142 million, which he then deposited in his own bank account and not Ohtani’s. 

However, his losing bets were around $183 million, which resulted in a net loss of almost $41 million. The investigation concluded that Mizuhara did not bet on baseball. 

Ohtani’s former interpreter pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. 

The bank fraud charge has a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, and the false tax return charge carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison. 

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 25th

Mizuhara has also been ordered to pay Ohtani back for the gambling debts that could total almost $17 million, as well as more than $1 million to the IRS. But the amounts could change prior to the sentencing. 

Mizuhara’s plea deal was negotiated with prosecutors before he was arraigned in federal court in Los Angeles in May. 

According to authorities, there was no evidence Ohtani was involved or aware of Mizuhara’s gambling, and he cooperated fully with the investigation. 

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