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Apr 11, 2024 2:53 pm

Feds accuse Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter of stealing $16M

mizuhara

Federal prosecutors allege that Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter siphoned more than $16 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers star’s bank account to pay off gambling debts to an illegal sportsbook.

According to an affidavit filed by federal authorities on Thursday, Ippei Mizuhara faces a charge of bank fraud that carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine.

The funds were allegedly stolen over a two-year period from an account where Ohtani received his baseball salary, and without Ohtani’s knowledge.

“There’s no indication Mr. Ohtani authorized the $16 million from his account to the bookmakers,” said E. Martin Estrada, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, per The New York Times.

“Mr. Mizuhara committed fraud on a massive scale,” Estrada said.

Mizuhara, 39, was initially accused of stealing $4.5 million when he was fired last month by the Dodgers. He had been working with Ohtani since the Japanese two-way star debuted with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Mizuhara’s attorney Michael Freedman is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.

The Times said Mizuhara is expected to enter a plea of not guilty when he is arraigned in federal court in Los Angeles, which could happen as early as Friday.

Ohtani, 29, signed a record-setting 10-year, $700 million with the Dodgers in December after batting .304 with an American League-leading 44 homers and 95 RBIs in 2023, when he earned his second unanimous AL MVP.

–Field Level Media

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