Home News Former Shohei Ohtani interpreter pleads guilty to charges in sports betting case

Former Shohei Ohtani interpreter pleads guilty to charges in sports betting case

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Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Shohei Ohtani, pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud related to the sports betting scandal around the Los Angeles Dodgers star.

Mizuhara entered his guilty plea Tuesday in federal court in Santa Ana, California. He changed his plea from not guilty, which was initially a procedural move. Mizuhara’s lawyer declined to comment outside the courthouse, according to The Associated Press.

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Ipphei Mizuhara talks to reporters

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, arrives at federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

“I worked for victim A and had access to his bank account and had fallen into major gambling debt. I went ahead and wired money … with his bank account,” Mizuhara said in a brief statement.

Mizuhara exploited his relationship with Ohtani to steal millions from the player’s account for years and at times even impersonating Ohtani to bankers.

The ex-interpreter’s winning bets totaled over $142 million, which he put into his own bank account and not Ohtani’s. His losing bets were around $183 million. He did not bet on baseball.

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Ipphei Mizuhara pleaded guilty

Ippei Mizuhara pleaded guilty on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 to bank and tax fraud in a sports betting case where he is expected to admit to stealing nearly $17 million from Shohei Ohtani. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer, File)

There was no indication Ohtani bet on baseball.

He pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return as part of a plea agreement. 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.

He was also ordered to pay Ohtani restitution that could total around $17 million and more than $1 million to the IRS.

Shohei Ohtani vs Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, talks with interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during the ninth inning of an opening day baseball game against the San Diego Padres at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

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Mizuhara will be sentenced on Oct. 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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