Ippei Mizuhara alleged to have stolen $16 million, according to federal authorities, from former interpreter Shohei Ohtani

The Shocking Scandal Involving Shohei Ohtani’s Former Interpreter

Apr 11, 2024, 01:39 PM ET

The former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani has been accused of stealing over $16 million from Ohtani to settle gambling debts with an illegal sportsbook. Ippei Mizuhara, 39, faces bank fraud charges, which could result in a maximum fine of $1 million and/or up to 30 years in prison. Ohtani denied authorizing the transfers in question.

Text messages and bank records indicate that Mizuhara started gambling in September 2021 and incurred significant losses. The investigation revealed that Mizuhara changed the account details to his own information and posed as Ohtani during phone calls to the bank to facilitate the transfers. One specific transaction of $500,000 to a bookmaker’s associate was highlighted in the complaint.

The probe began after $4.5 million was transferred from Ohtani’s account to the bookmaker’s operation. Mizuhara initially claimed Ohtani assisted him by sending money to cover his debts but later retracted his statement, leading to his termination by the Dodgers.

Mizuhara emphasized that he never engaged in betting on baseball. Meanwhile, Ohtani’s attorneys labeled the incident as a “massive theft.” Ohtani, in a press conference, reiterated that he had no involvement in any form of sports betting and was unaware of Mizuhara’s wrongdoing until a team meeting in Seoul, South Korea.

The investigation also uncovered a broader money laundering and illegal gambling case in Las Vegas involving the bookmaker, Mathew Bowyer, and former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix. Nix had notable clients like Scottie Pippen, Yasiel Puig, and Maverick Carter.

ESPN’s Tisha Thompson and T.J. Quinn contributed to this report.

Read More of this Story at www.espn.com – 2024-04-11 17:39:00

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